Your Health: Take charge of children’s activity level to prevent obesity

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Alabama has the 6th highest rate of childhood obesity.  Most parents may not know there are some guidelines for physical activity.

5-year-old Brody Randolph is the picture of health as his pediatrician, Dr. Me'lissa Young-King, gives him a checkup.

But there are some children who are clinically obese.  Because obesity rates have tripled since 1980, the Centers for Disease Control and doctors say there is a minimum of time children should be active every day.

"At least 45 minutes to an hour a day.  It can be broken up two to three times a day," said Dr. Young-King

Parents should check to add up things like an active physical education time, running and playing in the yard or extracurricular activities like sports.

"Just that daily burning of that energy... You're also burning off the calories, which is going to help to keep us fit and toned," she said.

An overweight child may have additional health concerns once considered an adult ailment, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.

"It's very important because the lifestyles of the children are often mirrored by the lifestyle of the parent," said Young-King.

She said a parent's sedentary lifestyle will also be detrimental to the child.

Many parents might be surprised to find that even going to the park, running and playing can count toward that exercise time every day.

Young-King said it's important for a parent to take charge of the child's activity level. It can be easy to target quality time on family night.

"Instead of pizza night, you could have a game night: Twister, the Wii Fit, playing the bowling on the Wii, just an activity, skate night, bicycling," said Young-King.

Good advice for your kids and "Your Health."

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