Children aren’t obese because they’re born that way. Often, the largest babies turn out to be the leanest. Children become obese from a lack of exercise and physical activity combined with poor diet. Lack of exercise and poor diet go hand in hand and the first way to deal with and prevent the problem from beginning is to get kids outside.
Sedentary lifestyles are learned and habit forming. It’s a crisis plaguing American children today. Parents can be part of the solution by making outdoor playtime a part of their family’s daily routine. Schools can encourage outdoor recess .When children are outside playing, they’re not inside watching television or playing video games. If they’re playing outside, they’re not plugged in. They’re moving rather than sitting.
The fresh air, combined with physical exertion and activity that children get when they’re outside, does more than just get kids out of the house. It burns calories, gets oxygen pumping through their bodies and allows their brains to think, rather than respond to media-controlled stimuli. The lean body mass that children develop in the early years keeps the fat from packing on as they enter their teen years.
When children are playing outside, it’s less tempting to eat snacks and junk food. When a child is playing ball, riding a bike, swinging, or any of the many activities a child can find to play outside, their hands are occupied and unavailable to stuff food in their mouth. It’s much easier to take a water bottle outside for hydration than a can of soda or other sugary drink.
Any activity can become habit-forming, so starting children with daily playtime outside is a good habit that will become a way of life as they grow up. When children learn to play outside, the art of playing is learned, which requires activity rather than sitting. Playing outside also stimulates brain activity, resulting in calorie burning and metabolism boosting. Playing outside keeps lethargy from setting in, daily calorie burning on track, and keeps blood and oxygen circulating through the body at healthy levels.
When children play outside, they learn the life skill of playing with others, the art of competition and good sportsmanship. Children are allowed to be creative and use their imagination when playing outside. Mental clarity and performance are more likely to be at optimum levels when children receive adequate Vitamin D and fresh air from playing outside.