Poor fitness at young age affects your child's health later in life

Posted at 5:05 PM, Oct 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-14 17:05:37-04

Parents, you need to listen carefully because poor fitness at a young age affects your child’s health later in life.   Over 1.1 million kids in 50 countries between the ages of 9 and 17 took part in a popular field test, the 20-meter shuttle run. How did American kids do? At the bottom. We ranked 47th place out of 50!  

You may be thinking it’s our western lifestyle but kids in Canada ranked much higher in 19th place. The study points to wealth inequality. Countries with large gaps between the rich and poor often had low fitness levels because poverty is linked to lower physical activity.

There are two studies linking kids' fitness levels to serious health consequences as an adult. A Swedish study followed 1.3 million boys for 29 years and a Japanese study followed 510 girls for 64 years. The kids with low fitness levels were more likely to die prematurely from ANY cause later in life.

This is a real wakeup call for parents. We need to get our kids moving so here are my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX for improving your kid’s aerobic fitness

1. Kids need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily
Get them involved in sports, swimming, biking, hiking or dancing classes.

2.  Find a fitness activity that’s right for your child
Make sure it’s age appropriate or your child may get frustrated or bored.

3. Limit Screen Time to 2 Hours a Day
Too many children are sedentary, spending four or more hours a day in front of a screen. 

4. Lead by Example
You’re a role model so make sure you’re incorporating physical activity into your daily life as well.