Physical activity is important for everyone; infants and toddlers, children,
adolescents, families (and grandparents!), staff and communities. Early childhood is the time to begin
the development of active, healthy lifestyles. Placing the child on the road to a lifetime of movement
should begin early to ensure a lifetime of good health. Parents and staff are important role models in
helping our children develop healthy lifestyles.
Participating in regular physical activity has important benefits:
- Increases muscle and bone strength.
- Increases lean muscle mass and helps decrease body fat.
- Helps maintain weight and is a key part of any weight loss program.
- Enhances psychological well-being.
- May reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve mood.
- Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General concludes that
- People of all ages, both males and females, benefit from regular physical activity.
- Significant health benefits can be obtained by participating in a moderate amount of physical activity
(e.g., 15 minutes of running, 30 minutes of brisk walking, 45 minutes of playing volleyball) on most, if not
all, days of the week.
Additional health benefits can be gained by participating in a greater amount of physical activity. People
who participate regularly in physical activity of longer duration or of more vigorous intensity are likely to
derive greater health benefits.
An optimal exercise plan for children and adults must:
- Be fun
- Be readily available every day
- Be part of your daily life
- Incorporate variety
- Include activities that can be done independently
Tips/Actions for Parents ("Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance", 2005, Institute of Medicine)
- Encourage and support regular physical activity.
- Limit children's TV viewing and other recreational screen time to fewer than two hours per day.
- Discuss weight status with their child's health care provider and monitor growth.
- Serve as positive role models for their children regarding physical activity.