Let’s Do It! Get Kids Moving!

Jumoke Ladapo, MD
Board Certified Family Medicine
Lillington Medical Services 

Whoa! One out of three children and adolescents are overweight or obese according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No doubt this is a huge and serious problem in our society, and we must do something to change the tide.

Jumoke Ladapo, MD, family medicine physician at Lillington Medical Services, is working to turn around that startling statistic by helping parents to get their kids moving.

Make It Fun

“The key to getting kids moving is to make it fun and to offer support,” said Dr. Ladapo. “Make small changes in your family’s routine that allow the children in your life to move around.”

She suggests turning household chores into games such as counting how many steps it takes to put away clothes or clean your room. The person who counted the most steps wins. Another idea is to turn TV/video time into movement time. Each time a commercial airs or a song is played on a video the kids must march in place, jump in place or dance.

You join in too! Have a few moments of fun with your children dancing around the room during a song – you’ll all feel energized and your children will see and feel your support.

“It is very important for adults to be role models of positive healthy activities,” continues Dr. Ladapo. “Let your kids see you making efforts to include more movement in your day. Small things like taking the stairs or parking farther away from a store to get in a few more steps can make a big impact on the way children view activity.”

Outside and Inside Play

Dr. Ladapo encourages play time outside as much as possible. Playing outside brings together many aspects of exercise at one time; cardiovascular fitness, building muscle strength, increasing endurance, strengthening bones, getting natural sunlight for vitamin D. Plus, children tend to play together, which teaches them social skills. “And it gets them out of your hair for a while,” she comments.

If playing outside is not feasible, do what you can to keep kids moving inside. Check out the list of inside play tips that accompanies this article.

Also, take advantage of local parks and recreation departments, which typically offer many types of sporting activities through the year for children, youth, adults and senior adults at low costs.

Encourage More Movement Activities

Another way to get kids moving is through classes at school and during before and after school programs. Talk with your kids’ teachers and before and after school program leaders about incorporating movement in the learning process and providing ample play time.

“We must get moving!” Dr. Ladapo exclaims. “Literally, moving our bodies for exercise and moving in the right direction to build a healthy generation of kids.”

To learn more about Dr. Ladapo and other Harnett Health medical staff, please visit our Find A Physician tool online at HarnettHealth.org. 

Inside Play Tips

1. Help kids create a walking path through the house using construction paper. They can use arts and craft skills to design their own path blocks and use their imagination to create a game based on the path.  You can also set a timer to see who can walk the path the most times.

2. Invest in an indoor trampoline.

3. Play dress up and have a Ball where everyone dances.

4. Put a treadmill or exercise bike in front of the TV. Anyone watching TV must be walking or riding.

5. Play video games that encourage movement.

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