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class="attribution" id="byline"> Written by the Healthline Editorial Team | Published on <meta content="2014-07-22" itemprop="datePublished"/>July 22, 2014<br/>Medically Reviewed by <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health/medical-board">Monica Gross, M.D.</a> on July 22, 2014</p> <div class="hl-widget-sharebar c"></div> <div class="sharebarContainer"><a class="link-sharebar" href="#overlaySharebar" id="sharebarLink" rel="#overlaySharebar"></a></div> </header> <nav class="hl-tab-navigation"> <div class="hl-arrow-tabnav hl-left-arrow-tabnav hl-icon-left-arrow"></div> <div class="hl-lpipe-tabnav"></div> <div class="hl-tabs-tabnav"> <ul> <li><a href="#Overview">Overview</a></li> <li><a href="#Physical Activity">Physical Activity</a></li> <li><a href="#Chores">Chores</a></li> <li><a href="#Rewards">Rewards</a></li> <li><a href="#Television">Television</a></li> <li><a href="#SetAnExample">Set An Example</a></li> <li><a href="#Eating Habits">Eating Habits</a></li> <li><a href="#Drink Water">Drink Water</a></li> <li><a href="#Relax">Relax</a></li> <li><a href="#Sleep">Sleep</a></li> </ul></div> <div class="hl-rpipe-tabnav"></div> <div class="hl-arrow-tabnav hl-right-arrow-tabnav hl-icon-right-arrow"></div> </nav> <div class="grid648"> <div id="fb-root"></div> <script>window.fbAsyncInit = function() { FB.init({ appId : '1529595680591919', xfbml : true, version : 'v2.1' }); }; (function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> <div class="container-article" itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/Article"> <article class="hl-article-toc"> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_1"><a name="Overview"></a>Keeping Kids Fit and Healthy</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_1"> <p>Physical activity, a healthy diet and a good nights sleep are really important in keeping children fit and healthy. Avoiding soda pop and too much screen time are also important. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. According to the <a href="http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/Oct2011/Feature1">National Institutes of</a> Health (NIH) nearly one in three children in the United States is overweight or obese—compared to just one in 20 in the 1980s. Here are some tips for keeping your child fit and healthy and for laying the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy living.</p> </div> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_2"><a name="PhysicalActivity"></a>Physical Activity</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_2"> <p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend at least one hour of physical activity per day for children. When you factor in active play, recess time, and gym class at school, one hour can go pretty fast. Physical activity can be as simple as playing outside. Older kids often enjoy group activities or team sports. Many local communities have a Parks and Recreation Department that organizes Youth Sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, and swimming.</p> </div> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_3"><a name="Chores"></a>Chores for Exercise</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_3"> <p>Chores are great exercise. If they are moving, they are exercising. But no parent wants to have arguments about making the bed, picking up toys, or emptying the trash. Make those chores rewarding by offering an incentive—a fun outing or an allowance. If you have more than one child, make it a friendly competition. Whoever completes the most tasks gets the prize. To add another layer of motivation (and movement), play some fun music, and set a time limit based on when a song finishes playing. You’ll all be moving faster, and the work will be done sooner.</p> </div> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_4"><a name="Rewards"></a>Sweets Aren’t Treats </h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_4"> <p>Tempting though they may be, rewards shouldn’t come in the form of candy or food. Instead, offer a fun reward that encourages physical activity—like a night at the ice-skating rink, picking the board game at the next family night, or a new toy. Kids like rewards, so use these incentives not only for chores but for grades and good behavior. </p> </div> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_5"><a name="Television"></a>Limit the Screen Time</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_5"> <p>The television can be a great babysitter in a crunch, but it encourages you and your child to always turn on the tube to fill time. Time spent in front of the television and computer is inactive time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children limit their screen time to two hours per day. Instead, create a basket of activities—sidewalk chalk, puzzles, jump rope, scavenger hunts—that you can offer your child when you need just a few minutes to yourself. Another option: tell them to go outside and play!.</p> </div> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_6"><a name="SetAnExample"></a>Practice What You Preach</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_6"> <p>Verbally encouraging your children to be active only gets you so far. You need to be a good example and set the tone. If your child sees you crashing on the couch and channel surfing, he or she will want to do it too. Limit your TV and computer hours, and take your kids out for a bike ride or roller skate around the neighborhood. It’s good physical activity and great family-bonding time.</p> </div> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_7"><a name="EatingHabits"></a>Encourage Good Eating Habits</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_7"> <p>Children’s palates are constantly changing and evolving. What they didn’t like as toddlers may become their favorite food as teens. Reintroduce foods, especially fruits and vegetables, to encourage expanding their food tastes. You may even consider introducing a One-Bite Rule—you have to take one bite of everything, even if you think you won’t like it. You never know when it may be yummy. Everyone should try and eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Sitting down as a family to eat dinner also promotes healthy eating.</p> </div> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_8"><a name="Drink Water"></a>Drink Water, Not Soda</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_8"> <p>Soda is not a healthy drink for children or adults. It is full of sugar and can cause cavities and obesity. Diet soda is also not a healthy drink. Water is the best drink for you and your children. Everyone should drink six to eight glasses a day.</p> </div> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_9"><a name="Relax"></a>Don’t Beat Yourself Up</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_9"> <p>Setting goals and limits for your house is a great way to encourage behavior and structure a healthy environment; all it takes is effort and willingness. But don’t blame yourself if you offer a Snickers bar as a treat once in a while or if you let your kids watch an extra hour of TV one night. As long as you continue to promote healthy habits, the occasional indulgence is just fine.</p> </div> <h2 class="content_head" id="TOC_TITLE_HDR_10"><a name="Sleep"></a>A Good Night’s Sleep</h2><div class="content_body" id="TOC_TITLE_10"> <p>Getting a good night sleep is highly important when it comes to staying fit.  Children who get a good night’s sleep are much less likely to be overweight or obese, or have medical and behavior problems.  Have a regular bedtime routine and stick to it. Encourage a good amount of sleep each night.</p></div></article> <div class="span12 box-share-help-feedback"> <div class="span5"> <div class="box-article-helpful"> <div class="box-helpful-question"> Was this article helpful? <span class="helpful-option-yes">Yes</span> <span class="helpful-option-no">No</span> </div> <div class="box-helpful-confirmation"></div> </div> </div> <div class="span3"> <div class="box-link-feedback"> <span class="icon-email"></span> <a class="link-feedback" href="#feedbackOverlay" id="feedbackLink" rel="#feedbackOverlay">Feedback?</a> </div> <div class="overlay-simple overlay-feedback" id="feedbackOverlay"> <div class="overlay-content"> <div class="box-form-feedback" id="feedbackformdiv"> <form action="/v2/widgetemail" id="feedbackform"> <input name="to" type="hidden" value="hrl"></input> <input id="urlfield" name="urlfield" type="hidden" value=""></input> <h2>Send us your feedback</h2> <p class="box-message">We are unable to respond directly to questions, but your feedback is greatly appreciated, and will be taken into account in our ongoing review of our Health Reference Library.<br/></p> <p> <label>Your Name:</label><br/> <input class="field-name" id="nametext" name="nametext" placeholder="Name Here" type="text"></input> <span class="box-msg-error" id="box-msg-name"><span class="icon-error">✖</span> <span id="errorMsgName">Please enter your name</span></span> </p> <p> <label>Your Email:</label><br/> <input class="field-email-address" id="feedbackemail" name="emailaddress" placeholder="name@example.com" type="email"></input> <span class="box-msg-error" id="box-msg-email"><span class="icon-error">✖</span> <span id="errorMsgEmail">Please enter your email</span></span> </p> <p> <input id="copy" name="copy" type="checkbox"></input> <label>Send me a copy</label> </p> <p class="box-textarea"> <textarea class="field-message" cols="60" id="feedbacktextarea" name="messagetext" rows="4"></textarea> </p> <div class="textarea-char-count" id="charcount">0</div> <p class="box-buttons"> <button class="btn-cancel" name="feedbackcancelbutton" type="button">Cancel</button> <button class="btn-send-msg">Send Message</button> <span class="box-loading"><img alt="" src="http://www.healthline.com/resources/base/images/ajax-loader.gif"/></span> </p> </form> <p class="box-privacy"><span class="icon-lock"></span> Email addresses will not be shared with 3rd parties. See <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health/privacy-policy" target="_blank">privacy policy</a></p> </div> <div class="box-thankyou" id="thankyou"> <h2><span class="icon-green-checkmark"></span> Thank you.</h2> <p>Your message has been sent.</p> </div> <div class="box-submit-error" id="submissionerror"> <h2>We're sorry, an error occurred.</h2> <p>We are unable to collect your feedback at this time. However, your feedback is important to us. Please try again later.</p> </div> </div><div class="overlay-footer"> <div class="overlay-close">Close</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="row12"> <div class="span12 hl-article-references"> <div class="hl-article-source"> <hr class="hl-references-line" style="width:100%;"/> <p class="hl-references-title"><a href="#"><span class="view-references-title">Show</span> Sources</a> <span class="hl-hide-show-icon hl-icon-down-arrow"></span></p> <div class="hl-references-body"> <div class="basesources"> <ul> <li>Children’s nutrition: 10 tips for picky eaters. (2011, August 4). <em>Mayo Clinic.</em> Retrieved September 26, 2012, from <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/childrens-health/MY00383">http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/childrens-health/MY00383</a></li> <li>Helping your child: Tips for parents. (2012, January). <em>Weight-control Information Network (WIN).</em> Retrieved September 26, 2012, from <a href="http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/child.htm">http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/child.htm</a></li> <li>How much physical activity do children need? (2011, November). <em>Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</em> Retrieved September 26, 2012, from <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/children.html">http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/children.html</a></li><li>Weighty issues for kids. (n.d.). News in Health. <em>National Institutes of Health (NIH).</em> Retrieved September 26, 2012, from <a href="http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/Oct2011/Feature1">http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/Oct2011/Feature1</a></li> <li>Marino, M., & Butkus, S. (n.d.). Background: Research on family meals. <em>Washington State University.</em> Retrieved September 26, 2012, from <a href="http://nutrition.wsu.edu/ebet/background.html">http://nutrition.wsu.edu/ebet/background.html</a></li> </ul></div> </div> </div><!-- end of article source block --> </div> </div><!-- row12 --> <div class="toc-content-promotion"> <!--hl-linking-ignore-start--> <div class="overlay-content-promotion"> <div class="content-promotion-header"> <div class="triangle"></div> <div class="content-promotion-title"> <p class="content-promotion-title-text">Recommended for You</p> </div> <div class="content-promotion-close"><a class="link-close-overlay-content-promotion" href="#"></a></div> </div> <div class="content-promotion-stories"> <div class="content-promotion-story click-link" data="/health-slideshow/hygiene-habits-kids"> <div class="content-promotion-title">Hygiene Habits for Kids</div> <div class="content-promotion-image"> <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/hygiene-habits-kids" title="Hygiene Habits for Kids"><img alt="Hygiene Habits for Kids" src="http://www.healthline.com/hlcmsresource/images/slideshow/hygiene-habits-for-kids/194x105_Hygiene_Habits_for_Kids.jpg"/></a> </div> <div class="content-promotion-text"> <div class="content-promotion-disclaimer">Setting up a routine of healthy hygiene when your kids are young can create habits that last throughout their lives.</div> <div class="content-promotion-link summary-action"> <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/hygiene-habits-kids" title="Hygiene Habits for Kids"> Read More <span> »</span></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="content-promotion-story click-link" data="/health-slideshow/tips-for-new-dads-9-healthy-habits-to-teach-your-kids"> <div class="content-promotion-title">Tips for New Dads: 9 Healthy Habits to Teach Your Kids</div> <div class="content-promotion-image"> <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/tips-for-new-dads-9-healthy-habits-to-teach-your-kids" title="Tips for New Dads: 9 Healthy Habits to Teach Your Kids"><img alt="Tips for New Dads: 9 Healthy Habits to Teach Your Kids" src="http://www.healthline.com/hlcmsresource/images/slideshow/Tips-for-New-Dads/194x105_Tips_for_New_Dads_SS.jpg"/></a> </div> <div class="content-promotion-text"> <div class="content-promotion-disclaimer">Being a new dad can be as terrifying as it is exciting. 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HLSHAREBAR.page_description : ''), email_page_url: HLSHAREBAR.email_page_url, email_page_title: HLSHAREBAR.email_page_title //page_image: page_image }); }); }); </script> <script> require([ "base/title-area", "base/overlay" ], function( WidgetTitleArea, AppOverlay ){ WidgetTitleArea.initialize(); var onBeforeLoadFunc = function() { $('.hl-main-content').css('z-index','auto'); }; var cfgOverlay = { maskColor: '#555555', maskLoadSpeed: 200, maskOpacity: 0.5, maskZindex: 9999999, top: "center", left: "center", close: ".overlay-close", onBeforeLoad: onBeforeLoadFunc }; AppOverlay.initialize( cfgOverlay ); }); require([ "base/rwd/title-area" ], function( WidgetTitleAreaResponsive ){ WidgetTitleAreaResponsive.initialize({ pubDateExists: true, medReviewDateExists: true, medReviewedBy: 'Monica Gross, M.D.', reviewDate: 'July 22, 2014' }); }); </script> <script> require([ "base/tab-navigation" ], function( WidgetTabNavigation ){ var promoTitle = "", partnerId = 28, adRefresh = false, cfg, sponsorDisclaimerOffset = 0, mr1RefreshTime = 4000, isLargeLandscapeImage = false; promoTitle = "Recommended for You"; partnerId = 28; adRefresh = true; if ( $( ".hl-sponsor-disclaimer" ).length ) { sponsorDisclaimerOffset = 78; } cfg = { promoTitle: promoTitle, partnerId: partnerId, contentPromoOffset: 70, sponsorDisclaimerOffset: sponsorDisclaimerOffset, adRefresh: adRefresh, mr1RefreshTime: mr1RefreshTime, isLargeLandscapeImage: isLargeLandscapeImage } WidgetTabNavigation.initialize(cfg); }); </script> <script> require([ 'jquery' ], function( $ ){ // activate toggle for hide/show FB comments $(window).load(function() { if( $('.fb-view-comments-bar').length ) { $('.fb-view-comments-bar').click(function() { $('.fb-view-comments-bar').toggleClass( 'open' ); if( $('.fb-view-comments-bar').hasClass( 'open' ) ) { $('.fb-view-comments-bar span.fb-view-comments-arrow').removeClass( "hl-icon-right-solid-arrow" ).addClass('hl-icon-down-arrow'); $('#fb-view-count').hide(); } else { $('.fb-view-comments-bar span.fb-view-comments-arrow').removeClass( "hl-icon-down-arrow" ).addClass('hl-icon-right-solid-arrow'); $('#fb-view-count').show(); } if($('#fb-view-count').html() == ' ()') $('#fb-view-count').hide(); }); } }); }); </script> <script> require(["jquery","base/overlay","base/feedback"],function($,AppOverlay){ var onBeforeLoadFunc = function() { $('.hl-main-content').css('z-index','auto'); $('#feedbackformdiv').show(); }; var cfgOverlay = { selectorValue: 'feedbackOverlay', maskColor: '#555555', maskLoadSpeed: 200, maskOpacity: 0.5, maskZindex: 9999999, top: "center", left: "center", close: ".overlay-close", onBeforeLoad: onBeforeLoadFunc }; AppOverlay.initialize(cfgOverlay); }); </script> <script> require(['jquery', 'base/content-promotion-widget'],function($, AppContentPromotion){ var config = { contentPromotionParam: '', platformPageType: 'articleTOC' }; AppContentPromotion.initialize(config); }); </script> <script> u_microsoft_adunit_channelids = "" microsoft_adunit_channelids = ""; document.write('<input id="msftChannelIds1" name="msftChannelIds1" type="hidden" value="'+microsoft_adunit_channelids+'">'); require(['jquery',"base/dfpmanager","base/responsive-ads","matchmedia"],function($,AppDfpmanager,AppResponsiveAds){ // determine if mr1 ad is shown on page load var isAdOnPageLoad = true; var breakpointsToHideAd = []; var breakpointsToHideAdByPageType = []; breakpointsToHideAdByPageType = ['768','600','480','320']; isAdOnPageLoad = AppResponsiveAds.getShowAdOnPageLoad("MR1",breakpointsToHideAd,breakpointsToHideAdByPageType); var adSize = '300x250,300x600'; if(matchMedia('only screen and (max-width: 600px)').matches) { adSize = '300x50,300x250'; } var cfgDfpManager = { isAdOnPageLoad: isAdOnPageLoad, adshost : 'http://ads.healthline.com', adSize: adSize, dfpAdSite : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', btk1 : '', btk2 : '', kw : 'childrenshealth,children_s_health_exercise_and_fitness,3806612', k1 : 'childrenshealth', k2 : 'childteenhealth', k3 : 'health', pos : 'mr1', ugc : 'false', ac : '', uac : '', akh : 'Keeping Kids Fit', aks : '5000', env : '', msiteID : '', adTagPageUrl : encodeURIComponent('/health/childrens-health-fitness'), yeildex : 'true', targetsrc : '' }; var mr1timeout = setTimeout(function() { AppDfpmanager.mr1IframeInit(cfgDfpManager); }, 300); }); </script> <script> require(["jquery","base/dfpmanager","base/responsive-ads","matchmedia"],function($,AppDfpmanager,AppResponsiveAds){ $(function() { // determine if mr2 ad is shown on page load var isAdOnPageLoad = true; var breakpointsToHideAd = []; var breakpointsToHideAdByPageType = []; breakpointsToHideAd = ['997','768','600','480','320']; var isAdOnPageLoad = AppResponsiveAds.getShowAdOnPageLoad("MR2",breakpointsToHideAd,breakpointsToHideAdByPageType); var cfgDfpManager = { isAdOnPageLoad: isAdOnPageLoad, adshost : 'http://ads.healthline.com', dfpAdSite : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', btk1 : '', btk2 : '', kw : 'childrenshealth,children_s_health_exercise_and_fitness,3806612', k1 : 'childrenshealth', k2 : 'childteenhealth', k3 : 'health', pos : 'mr2', ugc : 'false', ac : '', uac : '', env : '', msiteID : '', adTagPageUrl : encodeURIComponent('/health/childrens-health-fitness'), yeildex : 'true' , targetsrc : '' }; AppDfpmanager.mr2IframeInit(cfgDfpManager); }); // dom ready }); </script> <script> var isWslAdDisplayed = false; // check if adPositionsToHide from Config file is not empty for current partner // if true, then get values // then compare values to this page adPositionsToHide // - add new ones from config file to this page var configAdPositionsToHide; var addAdPosition = true; var pageAdPositionsToHide = ['wsr']; // page type specific ads to hide if( !isWslAdDisplayed ) { pageAdPositionsToHide.push('wsl'); } var rightRailNotSticky = false, isBackToTop = false; rightRailNotSticky = false; require([ 'base/article-toc', 'base/article-common' ], function( AppArticleToc, AppArticleTocCommon ){ AppArticleToc.initialize({ isWslAdDisplayed: isWslAdDisplayed, isArticleHelpful: false, partnerId: 28, titleAreaTop: '60px', tabNavigationTop: '85px', isBackToTop: isBackToTop, tabNavMaxWidth: '1008px', rightRailNotSticky: rightRailNotSticky, tabArticleWidth: 978, stickyTitlePaddingAuto: false, isFbCommentsOn: false, rightRailNotSticky: rightRailNotSticky }); AppArticleTocCommon.initialize(); }); var isMsiteId = false; var isMoveMr2 = true; require([ "base/rwd/article-toc" ], function( AppArticleTocRwd ){ AppArticleTocRwd.initialize({ isMsiteId: isMsiteId, adRBTimeDelay: 300, isMoveMr2: isMoveMr2 }); }); require([ "base/rwd/sharebar-mobile" ], function( AppSharebarMobile ){ AppSharebarMobile.initialize(); }); </script> <script> require(['jquery',"base/dfpmanager","base/responsive-ads","matchmedia"],function($,AppDfpmanager,AppResponsiveAds){ $(function() { // determine if pb ad is shown on page load var isAdOnPageLoad = true; var breakpointsToHideAd = []; var breakpointsToHideAdByPageType = []; breakpointsToHideAd = ['600','480','320']; var isAdOnPageLoad = AppResponsiveAds.getShowAdOnPageLoad("PB",breakpointsToHideAd,breakpointsToHideAdByPageType); var cfgDfpManager = { isAdOnPageLoad: isAdOnPageLoad, adshost : 'http://ads.healthline.com', logged_in : 'false', dfpAdSite : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', btk1 : '', btk2 : '', kw : 'childrenshealth,children_s_health_exercise_and_fitness,3806612', k1 : 'childrenshealth', k2 : 'childteenhealth', k3 : 'health', pos : 'lb', ugc : 'false', ac : '', uac : '', akh : '', aks : '5000', env : '', msiteID : '', adTagPageUrl : encodeURIComponent('/health/childrens-health-fitness'), partner : 'healthline', pg_dart_site : 'hn.us.hl.lc.x.x.x', pg_dart_zone : 'childrenshealth', pg_k2 : 'childteenhealth', pHLID : '3806612', HLID : '2791052|3806612', visit_type : 'HCviewer',hctype : 'H40',lcmain : 'Children\u0027s Health', yeildex : 'true', targetsrc : '' }; var pbtimeout = setTimeout(function() { AppDfpmanager.pbIframeInit(cfgDfpManager); }, 300); }); // dom ready }); </script> <script> var HL_adBlankMonitor = function(cfg) { if(cfg.adBlankCodes.length > 0) { for(var i = 0; i < cfg.adBlankCodes.length; i++) { if (typeof HL_ga_sendTrackEvent === 'function') { HL_ga_sendTrackEvent({ gaEventCategory : 'Ad Display', gaEventAction : 'Blank Ad', gaEventLabel : 'adBlankCode=' + cfg.adBlankCodes[i] + '&adspot=' + cfg.adPosition + '&pageUrl=' + window.location.pathname }); } } } }; require(["base/util/visit-tracker"],function(AppVisitTracker){ AppVisitTracker.initialize(); }); </script> <script> require([ 'healthline/newsletter-signup' ], function( newsletterSignup ){ newsletterSignup.setConfig({ newsletterHost: 'newsletter.healthline.com' }); }); </script> <script> /* load module */ require(["healthline/footer"]); </script> </div></div>