It's time to be more serious about activating youngsters : lessons for childhood obesity
Hills, Andrew P. (2009) It's time to be more serious about activating youngsters : lessons for childhood obesity. Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness, 7(2), S28-S33.
The epidemic of obesity is impacting an increasing proportion of children, adolescents and adults with a common feature being low levels of physical activity (PA). Despite having more knowledge than ever before about the benefits of PA for health and the growth and development of youngsters, we are only paying lip-service to the development of motor skills in children. Fun, enjoyment and basic skills are the essential underpinnings of meaningful participation in PA. A concurrent problem is the reported increase in sitting time with the most common sedentary behaviors being TV viewing and other screen-based games. Limitations of time have contributed to a displacement of active behaviors with inactive pursuits, which has contributed to reductions in activity energy expenditure. To redress the energy imbalance in overweight and obese children, we urgently need out-of-the-box multisectoral solutions. There is little to be gained from a shame and blame mentality where individuals, their parents, teachers and other groups are singled out as causes of the problem. Such an approach does little more than shift attention from the main game of prevention and management of the condition, which requires a concerted, whole-of-government approach (in each country). The failure to support and encourage all young people to participate in regular PA will increase the chance that our children will live shorter and less healthy lives than their parents. In short, we need novel environmental approaches to foster a systematic increase in PA. This paper provides examples of opportunities and challenges for PA strategies to prevent obesity with a particular emphasis on the school and home settings.
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