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Combat Obesity Starting in Preschool

Combat Obesity Starting in Preschool

Today nearly 18% of kids 6-11 are obese, as are 21% of those 12-19! Obesity is common -- and dangerous -- especially when it comes to children.

A lot of factors contribute to this epidemic (hormone disruptors in receipts and plastics, changes in your intestinal bacteria due to processed foods, the digital-sit-and-stare-at-a-screen revolution, inner city environments, high fructose corn syrup, sugary drinks). And it can seem hard to keep your child from becoming overweight. But a study from Seattle Children’s Hospital may indicate a good place to start: preschool.

Researchers found US preschoolers get only around 48 minutes of active play a day, when they should be getting 2 hours or more. And this contributes to everything from overweight to learning and behavior problems. But when preschoolers play actively indoors (remember duck-duck-goose?) or run around outside for even an hour a day, behavior and learning improves and so does nap time.

So if your child is in daycare:

  • Help arrange for parent-volunteers to come play active games with the kids.
  • Set up excursions to local parks where kids can explore and play.
  • Provide daycare workers with activity-based CDs or videos that will get kids up and moving.

Medically reviewed in July 2018.

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