Too Much Online Activity and Obesity in Kids

Childhood obesity is an issue which has received a great deal of attention in recent years. The percentage of children considered clinically overweight has risen sharply, and with obesity comes an array of negative health consequences. Read on to see how online activity plays a role in preventing children from overcoming an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle.

Worse Than Video Games?

Not that long ago, video games were what most people thought of when they pictured an overweight, sedentary child. While spending hours a day in front of a video game certainly isn’t healthy for anybody, adult or child, online activity can be even more damaging to childrenn6xi10vr_sdfsfpss’ health.

There are a variety of reasons for this. One is that much of today’s school homework is done online. Kids really do need to spend at least some time in front of the computer. Another reason is the explosion of social media. Kids used to talk to their friends on the phone or in person. Now they talk through Internet social media messenger services on their smartphone or tablet. They can talk to several friends at once, even friends clear across the world. Time flies when chatting, and so this particular activity can add up to a lot of time spent motionless in front of a computer or smartphone. The broad variety of videos, posts and other online attractions can make it even easier to let the hours slip by unnoticed.

Talking and Taking Action

As a parent, you’ll be the first to notice if your child begins to pack on unwanted pounds. The first time you notice is the right time to start setting a plan in motion to reverse this unhealthy trend. This is crucial because the longer a child is overweight, studies suggest, the harder it will be for them to return to a healthy weight. Childhood years are the formative years for the rest of our lives.

Peeling an Internet-addicted kid away from their computer or tablet is no easy task. The best strategy is to first make some time to talk about the issue. No child wants to be overweight. The nasty comments and bullying that result from it can be brutal. Address what is going on and work together to turn the situation around in healthy ways. A parent’s role should be supportive and understanding in the difficulty of overcoming obesity and never make their children feel less worthy as people because of their weight. Too much negative pressure the wrong way can lead to unhealthy eating disorders. Ensuring that your child feels in control of what’s going on – and in control of their own body – is a wonderfully healthy and confidence-building lesson.

Your first step together can be to figure out whether food, online activity or heredity is the reason – or if it is a combination of the factors. Does your child sit at the computer with a bag of chips at their elbow? If so, removing the unhealthy snacks and replacing them with something healthy is a great place to begin. Again, work with your child to ensure that they’ll be snacking on something they can enjoy without stacking on bad cholesterol or empty calories.

Next, talk about ways to cut down on Internet activity. Decide which activities are necessary, such as homework, and put a cap on how long your child should dedicate to this each day. Exceptions can be made for big tests or long essays. After a reasonable homework schedule has been created, talk about fun activities. Explain that this is not a punishment, but a new focus on health. Provide time for chatting online, watching videos and other things your child enjoys, but cap it at a time that feels best for both of you.

Get Moving

Once you have established how much time your child should reasonably spend online each day, work together on establishing new, healthy habits. Nearly every child enjoys physical activity. The issue with many overweight children is that they simply have not discovered their favorite aerobic activity. Introduce them to as many sports or physical hobbies and outdoor activities as you can think of. Sooner or later, something will pique their interest. Once it does, encourage them to spend time being active.

If you can’t find something right away, start working out together at home. There are plenty of fun and physical activities which parents and children can enjoy together. For children who are sensitive about their weight, this may be their favorite option – at least in the beginning. When is the last time you met your personal goal in push-ups and sit-ups?

Empathize and Educate

Being there for your child on their journey back to wellness is the most important thing you can do as a parent. Educate them fully on why they’re changing their lifestyle. Let them know that these positive changes will help to keep them healthy throughout their entire lives.

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