Be active yourself. Let your kids see you walking, biking, swimming. Play ball or do other physical activities with them. Turn the jump rope. Limit TV time and screen time (video games, texting, computer) to two hours or less per day. Screen time has been linked to obesity by many research projects. When children are in front of a screen, they are not active. Inventory your kids' toys. Which cause them to be physically active? Hula hoops? Jump ropes? When you choose toys, think about that. In casual conversation, talk fitness and the importance of getting your heart rate up. Make it as easy for your child to be active every day. Invest in a basketball hoop or a small trampoline. If your child wants to be on a team, do what you can to get him or her there. Consider volunteering as a coach. Get together with other parents to organize active after school activities. Think of safe outdoor places where your child can play with other kids. Make active play dates with parents of other kids in places where children and adults can throw a Frisbee or have races.
Find more ideas and resources at www.wvgazette.com/news/theshapewerein. Sources: KidsHealth.org; Centers for Disease Control; Weight-control Information Network: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases