WebMD Medical News
Laura J. Martin, MD
April 14, 2011 -- About three out of four children ages 5 to 10 get less than one hour of physical activity daily, according to a new survey.
The survey of more than 1,600 U.S. parents was conducted by the YMCA of the USA, also known as Y-USA.
It showed that that 74% of children between the ages of 5 and 10 do not get enough exercise on a daily basis, based on the 60 minutes of daily physical activity recommended in the government’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Only 15% of the parents in the survey indicated that overall physical health is the top concern for their children, even though rates of childhood obesity have been climbing.
The survey found that 52% of parents said they’d been forced to cut back, at least to some degree, on their children’s after-school activities, which are common ways for kids to get active playtime, in an effort to save money.
Other findings from the survey:
Lynne Vaughan, senior vice president and chief innovation officer at the YMCA, says officials realize that parents are struggling to find the time and resources to incorporate physical activity and healthier habits into the daily lives of their kids. But she points out that getting active does not necessarily require much time or money.
The YMCA declared April 16 as Healthy Kids Day as a reminder to parents that health and well-being is essential for children, and being active can be as simple as scheduling a play date with their kids.
“The Y is committed to improving our nation’s health and well-being,” says Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of Y-USA. “We know it takes a collective effort to combat the growing rates of obesity and chronic illness in this country.”
He says the YMCA wants children, with parental help, “to start making healthier choices at home, so they can lead longer, healthier and happier lives.”
The YMCA offers these tips for families to help them improve physical activity of their children:
SOURCES:News release, YMCA.YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot.Department of Health and Human Services: “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2008.”
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