Are you overestimating how active your child is?

It is a well-known fact that children have not been spared by the obesity epidemic that is sweeping across the Western world. Two main factors are at cause: poor dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle. Parents are often under the impression that their children have an incredible amount of energy and that they run around all day. However, according to a recent study involving nearly 2,000 British children and their parents, the latter commonly overestimate their progeny’s level of activity.

It is a well-known fact that children have not been spared by the obesity epidemic that is sweeping across the Western world. Two main factors are at cause: poor dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle. Parents are often under the impression that their children have an incredible amount of energy and that they run around all day. However, according to a recent study involving nearly 2,000 British children and their parents, the latter commonly overestimate their progeny’s level of activity.

Over a period of a few months, the participating children – which were aged 9 and 10, and came from 92 schools – were each equipped with an accelerometer, a gadget that measures the wearer’s level of physical activity. Children were deemed inactive if they completed less than an hour a day of moderate or vigorous physical activity. While the majority of children studied were getting a sufficient level of exercise, 39 percent of the girls and 18 percent of the boys were getting less than the recommended daily minimum. However, when asked about their children’s activity level, four out of five parents described their children as fairly or very physically active. Parents of girls were more likely to overestimate, as were those with slim children. Interestingly, the children themselves had a fairly accurate perception of their level of physical activity.

Physical activity is essential to a child’s healthy development… and also simply to have fun! Good habits are easier to establish during childhood. Encourage your children to find activities and sports for which they can develop a lifelong passion!

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