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physical activity
Ymca Study Asks: “y” Are So Few Children Playing These Days?
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Ymca Study Asks: “y” Are So Few Children Playing These Days?

Although it might sound like a study in obviousness, the YMCA released the results of a recent survey and the news is not good. In that study, over 1600 American parents who have children ages 5 through 10 were asked how much time their children spend exercising, playing or being active throughout the week, especially outside. In addition, the parents were asked what they felt was the biggest obstacle to encouraging their children to get the right amount of exercise.

The results of that study showed that many parents feel they don’t have the time or the extra money to take kids to extracurricular activities and choose the convenience of video games and other more sedentary activities instead. The number of parents who had this as their answer was slightly over half. There were no questions related to whether the parents worried about their children’s current or future health status because of their lack of exercise.

The YMCA study showed that 58% of the kids in the survey spend less than four days of the week outside in a physical activity, including simply playing. This is troubling news, particularly in light of the number of children who are listed as overweight or obese.

In addition, more and more schools are cutting down on gym classes as well as recess time, leaving more kids with no physical activities to count on outside of their free time at home. Several school districts across the nation have announced that they are reducing the time available for recesses to accommodate time for standardized testing, a practice that leaves the children even less time to eat well and to exercise.

Experts agree that children don’t need expensive classes or organized events to get their suggest exercise every day nor do they have to aim for a full hour at one time. If the family can get together and move for even ten minutes at a time, it is better than nothing. Getting the family together to play a game of baseball or tag costs nothing and can be a great way to bond as well.

Additionally, experts believe that if the kids insist on using the video games or their smart phones, to include a number of the active games that get them up and moving even while they are playing. If all else fails, there should be a strict limit on the time that kids spend watching TV or sitting in front of a computer.

The importance of getting the right amount of exercise is emphasized in not only the number of children who are obese but in the number of children who have diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions. Another alarming study has shown a trend toward precocious puberty, sometimes in girls that are as young as ten years old. Initial links have been established to excessive weight and the early onset of menses and breast development.

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