Childhood weight problems have become an increasingly common issue in the United States, with the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reporting that, as of 2008, nearly 20% of children aged 6 to 11 and 18% of those 12 to 19 were obese. Exercise is crucial for helping kids lose weight and become fitter, and it doesn't have to involve a gym membership or a complicated sports-team schedule. You can help your child be more active and lose weight through a fun, simple exercise program right in your own home.
Include at least 60 minutes of physical activity in your children's daily routine, the Centers for Disease Control and Preventio advise. Start by increasing active play, either indoors or out. Include activities and games such as tag, hopscotch, kite-flying, even musical chairs. Make exercise fun. Play catch. Create an obstacle course for kids to run around and jump over, using plastic cones, hula hoops, jump ropes and other household toys. For older children, encourage activities such as jumping rope, dancing, gardening and walking.
Encourage structured exercise in addition to active play. Try dance and exercise DVDs created just for kids, many of which are available for check-out at your local public library. Incorporate one or two of these per week into your children's schedule for more physical activity and calorie-burning.
Model physical fitness. Encourage your children to be more active and fit by exercising and being active yourself. Join their active at-home games, plan calorie-burning family activities like walks and bike rides, and dance with them to high-energy kids' music.
Teach your children simple strength-training moves. The American Council on Exercise reports that strength training builds muscle, which increases metabolism and burns more calories. Use hand-held weights or common household items such as cans of food or water bottles to do biceps curls, shoulder raises and squats.
Before your child begins any weight-loss or exercise program, consult a pediatrician to get clearance for exercise and discuss a healthy weight-loss goal.