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Summertime: A time for increased activity or a time of increase obesity related behaviors?

Posted 6/27/2016 by Ginger Fiscella, Exercise Physiologist for Healthy Kids

Schools out for summer! What to do? The beach, flying kites, not coming home until the street lights come on, right? Wrong! According to a study from Columbia University, children are more likely to engage in activities that contribute to obesity including watching TV, consuming meals that are higher in sugar, and decrease in exercise levels. So what can we do?

  1. Start by making a list of all the things you will accomplish during the summer months. Do you want to learn how to swim or learn to ride a bike? Put it on the list! Maybe you want to learn how to cook, and can set a goal of 3 new healthy meals each month.
  2. Secondly, put down the technology! On that list of things you want to do this summer, limit screen time to 2 hours or less each day. We often fill our time with endless hours of games, videos, social media because we are bored, which can then overtime turn into habit and addiction.
  3. Start Tracking. In the Healthy Kids program, we ask that all of our participants keep a daily food and activity journal. This is a super easy way to keep track of what you are consuming and how much activity you are doing. Grab a little steno notebook, or use an app on your phone, and start jotting down what you ate, and how much of it. Write down how much time you spent exercising and how hard you felt you worked.

All of this can help motivate you to continue to work harder and meet your goals. At the end of the summer you will be able to look back and see all of the progress you have made, and all of the new things you have learned. You can return to school feeling more confident, and share all of your new skills with your friends.

Here are some summertime goal ideas. Pick one off this list and get moving!

  • Learn how to ride a bike
  • Learn to swim
  • Learn how to cook healthy meals (or come up with recipes the whole family can enjoy)
  • Go hiking
  • Run around the block
  • Plant a garden (Vegetables that you like, and some you have never tried before)
  • Have a picnic in the park
  • Go camping
  • Go kayaking or canoeing
  • Help with yard work

University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital is doing something about excess weight gain in children, through comprehensive, results-driven community education. Healthy Kids is preventing childhood obesity, helping children lose weight and teaching at-risk families to make healthy lifestyle choices.

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