Sports. Some of us hate them, some of us love them. Some of us grew up as the team’s shining star. They woke up early on the weekends for football or baseball practice, or ran track until they puked. Then there were those of us who preferred to sit on the sidelines and watch. We relished the use of the snooze button and slept ’til noon every Saturday and then got up and turned on the TV or played video games. This trend has continued over the decades, with more and more kids turning on TVs instead of getting turned on to sports. The effects of this trend have been disturbing with childhood obesity rates on the rise, and far too many kids getting into trouble with drugs and violence. If sports were part of the lives of more young people, we might see the trend reverse.
Tackling Childhood Obesity Through Athletics
In most areas, some type of sport activity is available for kids of various age groups. While some children are eager to play sports, there are some children who simply do not show much interest in competing. However, in light of the obesity rates in children that continue to skyrocket, it just seems like common sense that some sort of physical activity should be part of every child’s life.
“Look at the obesity rate for kids right now. It’s terrible. Do I force my kids to do sports? YES! I don’t make them play a sport that they don’t like, but they will play a sport,” explained Dr. Kevin Berry, a Denver, Colorado dentist and father of three.
A High-tech World May Not Be The Healthiest For Children
Younger generations seem drawn to the latest and greatest technologies of today like moths to a flame. They spend hours of every day browsing the Internet, using their cell phones, gaming, and watching television. All of these activities require little to no physical movement, except maybe for kids playing with Microsoft Xbox’s new Kinect® system.
Parents need to step in to ensure that technology-based activities don’t monopolize the lives of today’s children. There is always time for sports, and if there isn’t time, time should be made for them. Sports allow children to be active and to spend time away from the devices that seem to be glued to their hands.
Studies have shown that the less active a child is, the higher chance he/she has of becoming overweight. The less kids move and the more downtime they have, the more likely they are to pack on pounds. Health agencies push for at least 60 minutes of physical activity for children each day and with sports, exercise becomes less mundane and much more exciting.
Playing to Learn
In addition to fighting the childhood obesity epidemic, sports are also important in helping children to grow and learn as high-functioning members of society. Sports allow a child to learn the importance of team work, dedication, proper social skills, the art of fair competition, and can even build a child’s self-esteem. As explained by Dr. Berry, “Sports give kids a sense of brotherhood; it keeps my son out of trouble. It reinforces the message of right and wrong that he gets at home. Even if it’s not competitive, it is a good use of their time.” Sports also keep parents involved in their child’s development.
Your child doesn’t need to be the local team’s star quarterback or the soccer team’s best goalie, but he should partake in some sort of sport. With such a variety of sporting activities available today, your kids should be able to find something that they can enjoy doing that doesn’t involve going online.
Ashley Page writes for Off-Topic Media. Dr. Kevin Berry is a general dentist who focuses on treating TMJ disorder and sleep apnea. He can be contacted at:
TMJ Therapy and Sleep Center of Colorado
8200 S. Quebec Street, A14
Centennial, Colorado 80112
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