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Getting children active is life changing

Getting children active is life changing
April 27, 2017

The New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals has highlighted how establishing healthy habits in childhood, being active and having a varied and nutritionally balanced diet is important to whole-of-life outcomes.

In a release to New Zealand fitness industry stakeholders, the registration body advises that lack of regular activity and high body fat in children has been shown in studies to cause a range of physical, social and mental health problems. Overweight and inactive children are more likely to be overweight into adulthood, and risk developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

The Ministry of Health reports that in New Zealand, 31% of children aged from two to 14 years are overweight, and this trend has been on the rise in recent years. Internationally the World Health Organisation reports that 42 million under the age of five are overweight (2013 figures).

NZREPS advise “we face a unique moment in history where most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.

“For parents and those who have an interest in the future health of their children, it is clear that a lifelong healthy lifestyle needs to start in childhood, and as it is adults who make the health decisions for children, we have a real opportunity to turn around the health of our children. By encouraging and supporting them to get active and engaging in healthy eating when they are young, we can make it easier to maintain those habits into adulthood.

“It’s not just about the health risks either. Getting kids active helps them with their physical development helping to build strong bones, muscles and joints, and healthy heart and lungs. It will improve their balance, coordination and cognitive skills and it will help them be more confident and socially interactive.”

Sport New Zealand states that early childhood experiences are critical to the development of the skills, attitudes and confidence required to become an active participant in sport and recreation in later life.

While physical activity and childhood goes together, more and more there is competition for getting active. Nearly half of children aged five to 14 years (53%) usually watch two or more hours of television a day, and this time increases into the teen years.

NZREPS add “this means we cannot just assume kids will stay active, just as we plan time to exercise and engage in physical activity, our kids need to plan for it as well.

“So let’s get our nation’s children active.”

NZREPS advise that there are plenty of ways to integrate activity into family life with young children including:

• Limit screen time
• Whenever possible use active transport
• Involve your children in your activity and exercise choices. While it may not be appropriate to take your preschooler to the gym, they can come along for active family activities.
• Get the kids to help around the house and garden. Teach them that working up a sweat is a positive thing.

NZREPS conclude “once kids head into their teenage years and beyond there’s no reason they can’t enjoy exercise in the way we do.

“Why not take them along to an exercise session with you? By seeing you as their parents or carers doing the right thing, this sets the right pathway to a life long love of exercise and physical activity.”

For more information go to www.reps.org.nz and www.exercisenz.org.nz

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28th November 2016 - EXERCISE INDUSTRY AWARDS RECOGNISE NEW ZEALAND’S MOST ENERGETIC PROFESSIONALS

25th October 2016 - NZREPS HIGHLIGHTS THE REAL COST OF PHYSICAL INACTIVITY

17th October 2016 - NEW ZEALAND’S ‘NO SUGARY DRINKS’ LOGO LAUNCH SENDS CLEAR HEALTH MESSAGE

10th October 2016 - HEALTHY FAMILIES NZ HAVING A POSITIVE IMPACT 

19th August 2016 - EXERCISENZ ISSUES HEALTH AND SAFETY GUIDE FOR FITNESS OPERATORS

29th July 2016 - SUGARY DRINKS DROPPED FROM AUCKLAND COUNCIL LEISURE CENTRES 

16th July 2016 - GREEN PRESCRIPTIONS HELPING YOUNG PEOPLE GET MORE ACTIVE

14th April 2016 - NEW ZEALAND PLANS PHYSICAL ACTIVITY RESOURCES FOR UNDER 5S 

3rd April 2016 - NEW ZEALAND WELLNESS EXPERTS CALL FOR SUGAR TAX 

22nd February 2013 - PHYSICAL INACTIVITY COSTS NEW ZEALAND ALMOST 1% OF GDP


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