- Only 1 in 3 children are physically active every day.
- Less than 50% of the time spent in sports practice, games, and physical education class involves moving enough to be considered physical activity.
- Children and teens spend more than 7 hours per day on average using TVs, computers, phones, and other electronic devices for entertainment.
- About 1 out of 3 children is either overweight or obese in the United States.
- Overweight teens have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.
Get the entire family moving!
With participation in all types of physical activity declining dramatically as a child’s age and grade in school increases, it is important that physical activity be a regular part of family life.
Studies have shown that lifestyles learned as children are much more likely to stay with a person into adulthood. If sports and physical activities are a family priority, they will provide children and parents with a strong foundation for a lifetime of health.
The benefits of physical activity
Being physically active requires moving enough to breathe heavy, be short of breath, feel warm, and sweat. While exercise is vital to the health and well-being of children, many of them neither appreciate or fully understand the many emotional and physical health benefits of physical activity.
To lead a healthy, active life, families can strive to reach the following goals:
- Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Limit screen time to 2 hours or less each day.
- Get 1 hour or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.
- Limit sugar-sweetened drinks.
The benefits of physical activity include:
Benefits to the body
- Builds and maintains healthy bones, muscles, and joints
- Controls weight and body fat
- Improves appearance
- Increases muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility
- Improves ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep well
- Reduces the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease later in life
- Builds and improves athletic skills
- Increases enthusiasm and optimism
- Fosters teamwork and friendship when it’s an organized sport
- Boosts self-esteem
- Reduces anxiety, tension, and depression
- Improves school performance and behavior