File photo: Ashleigh Barty of Australia plays tennis with children as part of kids tennis day. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Hide Caption

Get a move on: 9 tips to get children off the couch and into heart healthy habits

a a a a
Share this story
Show Related Headlines
Related Articles
9 great places to walk in the Tri-State
9 heart healthy food substitutions
9 free and cheap apps for heart health

OAKLEY - In today's digital era it can seem like there are a million distractions that work against getting children off the couch and into healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

Dr. John S. Hutton, a pediatrician at Cincinnati's Children's Hospital and owner of the Blue Manatee in Oakley , with his wife Sandy, offers some simple solutions to combat a sedentary lifestyle.

1.     Be a role model.  "Kids are going to model what they see in their parents in watching TV and being on the iPads and things like that," Hutton said. Take your younger child with you as you play a sport, so they can mimic you as a way to instill healthy habits in your children, he adds.  "Kids are always watching what parents are doing and will want to model that."

2.     Go old school. "There are so many old fashioned things we used to all know how to do," Hutton said. "It's kind of a fun idea to get parents to dust off their memories to go out and play things they used to do as a kids." Hutton includes simple games, such as four square, hide-and-seek, or any game a parent can remember playing as a kid, before electronics came to dominate our down time.

3.     Keep it simple. "I think starting with little ones, there is good old fashioned walking in the yard," Hutton said. For older kids, activities such as going to the park and utilizing park equipment is a good idea, or even jumping rope. And, getting to the park can be a healthy activity in itself by learning to ride a bike to get there. "A lot of kids these days aren't learning to ride bikes."

4.    Get a pet. Dr. Hutton said dogs in particular are great ways to keep children, especially the older ones, active. "They love to run and play and kids can really follow through with them." As a  bonus, Hutton said, research shows young children exposed to dogs tends to prevent allergies.

5.    Turn the TV off. Pick a week to turn off the electronics, Dr. Hutton recommends. "In April there is turn off the TV week . It almost always just helps them be more active." He also suggests building healthy habits beyond the break.

6.    Let your kids get bored. Dr. Hutton said perhaps the easiest, and most practical way to get children moving is to take away all the devices they use for one afternoon, if not an entire week, and see what happens. "Almost letting your kids be a little bit bored can be helpful," Hutton said.  "Almost always they will think of something to do. They will come up something good. That's sort of what they are wired for if you give them the chance."

7.    Play active video games. Parents aren't going to be able to keep their kids away from the game console all the time, so Dr. Hutton suggests some very simple guidelines to video game play: Limit their time, keep snacks away from the TV and get them to play active games with others. "If they are going to play video games have them do something more sports related," Hutton said. All three major game consoles (the Wii, Xbox360, and Play Station 3) offer some sort of interactive component to game play. "It is certainly a step up from the more passive video games. Get them to do that with someone else to make it a little bit more competitive."

8.    Get involved. Beyond games and at home activities, Dr. Hutton recommends some of the suggestions from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP.org site suggests getting out and volunteering and working in the community for older children and finding an organized sport or activity to do three times a week for kids between ages five and 12.

9.   Do your homework. If keeping active play interesting becomes a challenge, or parents want to9 explore new ways to get moving with their children, Dr. Hutton said there are a lot of resources out there to come up with fresh ideas. As a bookstore owner for 12 years Hutton said a good place to begin is "The Dangerous Book for Boys" and "The Dangerous Book for Girls" that both suggest activities to get kids moving. The American Academy of Pediatrics   also offers literature and suggestions to get kids active at their site.

 

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Heart Month
Recall: 96K pounds of Oscar Mayer wieners
Recall: 96K pounds of Oscar Mayer wieners

Kraft Foods is recalling 96,000 pounds of its Oscar Mayer wieners because they may mistakenly contain cheese.

Michaels confirms breach of up to 2.6M cards
Michaels confirms breach of up to 2.6M cards

Michaels Stores Inc. said Thursday that about 2.6 million cards, or about 7 percent of all debit and credit cards used at its namesake…

Drought, demand driving up dairy prices
Drought, demand driving up dairy prices

Milk prices hit their highest prices since 2011, and recent price spikes might remain on grocery bills for a long time.

Mazda recalls 109,000 older SUVs for rust issues
Mazda recalls 109,000 older SUVs for rust issues

Mazda is recalling 109,000 Tribute SUVs in cold-weather states to fix rusting frame parts.

Chipotle plans first price hike in 3 years
Chipotle plans first price hike in 3 years

Chipotle is feeling confident that customers are willing to pay more for its burritos, bowls and tacos.

Toyota recalls 6.4 million vehicles globally
Toyota recalls 6.4 million vehicles globally

Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 6.39 million vehicles globally for a variety of problems spanning nearly 30 models in Japan, the U.S., Europe…

Consumer Reports pulls recommendation for 3 SUVs
Consumer Reports pulls recommendation for 3 SUVs

Consumer Reports has pulled its recommendation from three midsize Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) after poor performances in a new crash test.

Tyson recalls 75K pounds of chicken nuggets
Tyson recalls 75K pounds of chicken nuggets

Tyson Foods Inc. announced that it is recalling more than 75,000 pounds of chicken nugget products that may be contaminated with extraneous…

Supplier recalls more than 8,700lbs. of chicken
Supplier recalls more than 8,700lbs. of chicken

A food supplier with operations in Oklahoma is recalling more than 8,700 pounds of frozen chicken products because of misbranding and…

GM, safety agency face Congress over recalls
GM, safety agency face Congress over recalls

General Motors' new CEO and the head of the nation's auto safety watchdog are headed to Congress to testify about a defect in small…