Get the children out of the house…it’s easy in Truckee Tahoe
A new report by The Robert Wood Foundation finds America’s obesity epidemic is increasing. The number of overweight and obese children now passes the number of adults who are overweight and obese in 48 states.As an Exercise Physiologist and Registered Dietitian at the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance the two biggest challenges we see are getting kids to move and eat more fruits and vegetables. So what can parents do to keep their kids active? Evaluate their attitudes about fitness. Don’t complain about physical activity – from working out to housework. Get kids involved in chores such as vacuuming, doing the dishes and working in the yard. Help make fitness a positive, fun experience by having a positive attitude yourself.How much activity do children need? The short answer is: The more activity kids get, the better.A total of 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity (keep in mind that children are typically active in short bursts). Most of that should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least three days per week. Examples of aerobic activity include brisk walking, running, hopping, skipping, dancing, bicycling, jumping rope and swimming. As part of their 60 or more minutes, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity at least three days of the week. For children, use playground equipment, climb trees or play tug-of-war. For teens, light weight lifting and body weight exercises for resistance such as push-ups, chair dips and pull-ups work.
Ellyn Satter says it best, “Parents are responsible for what, when and where. Children are responsible for how much and whether.” Eating behaviors that begin in childhood last forever. The following are some behaviorally focused tips to get your kids to enjoy more fruit and vegetables.Lead by example: Seeing parents and caregivers eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is the number-one way to get children to do the same. There is no more powerful teaching tool than modeling the behavior one seeks to instill. Educate: Take them to the local farmers market to explore the produce. Talk about the colors, smells, textures and tastes of what they can choose to strengthen powerful connections with these foods.Focus on the little things: Offering children small bites, little pieces and easy to eat “trials” of fruits and vegetables can make tasting foods less overwhelming. Be prepared: Having fruits and vegetables ready to eat; washed, sliced and at eye level in the fridge; packed in backpacks and in the car increases the consumption. Known as the original fast food, fruits and vegetables are portable and convenient.Make eating an enjoyable time: Children are more likely to try new foods if the atmosphere is relaxed and there is no pressure. Power struggles, bribes, threats, negotiations and ultimatums make fruits and vegetables less appealing. Encouragement and praise for tasting and trying will build children’s confidence.Nutrition-packed snacks:Dip baby carrots and cherry tomatoes in ranch dressing.Peel a banana and dip it in yogurt. Roll in crushed cereal and freeze.Spread peanut butter on apple slices.Freeze grapes and take them to the beach – they will be ready to go with a crunch.Dip strawberries or apples in low-fat yogurt.”Ants on a log” – celery with peanut butter or cream cheese. Top with raisins.Dip mini-toaster waffles in cinnamon applesauce.Peppers, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas: Mix up raw veggies with fun hummus or bean dips.Banana Split: Top a banana with low-fat vanilla and strawberry frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with your favorite whole-grain cereal.Smoothies: Any seasonal fruit mixed with yogurt, ice and a splash of juice or low-fat milk. Use these tips and the resources available at the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance to get your kids moving more and eating more fruits and vegetables. Remember, parents need to be role models. Help make fitness for your child a positive, fun experience by having a positive attitude yourself. Put limits on the amount time your children spend watching TV and sitting in front of the computer. On the weekends, plan outdoor activities as a family. Educate your children on produce, offer children small bites, have fruits and vegetables readily available and make eating an enjoyable time. If you would like more information on available programs at the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance, please contact us at 587-3769.- Wendy Buchanan, MS-Exercise Physiologist and Jill Whisler, MS, RD-Wellness Dietitian of the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance
Participate in the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance Speed Camp – this training program will enhance athletic performance in a variety of different sports as all sports are speed dependent! At this camp the fundamentals of speed are covered in practice sessions that encourage development and refinement of agility, coordination and movement efficiency. Open to ages 11 to 17. Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to noon, Aug. 3-6. Call 587-3769.
Below are the the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, released in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).Ages 2 to 5Preschoolers are learning how their body works and everything it is capable of doing, and so you should encourage activities that promote free play, fun, and exploration. Those activities include: Tag, running, biking or tricycling, climbing on the playground. throwing or catching , tumbling or gymnastics, swimming. Challenges you may face:Put limits on the amount of TV your child watches. Say he may choose one 30-minute program before the television is turned off. The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommends parents limit computer and TV combined screen time to two hours. Look for toys that are age-appropriate and encourage activity, such as a ride-on toy or a tricycle. Ages 6 to 12Those that focus on improving motor skills and balance and allow kids to acquire skills for sports and games in a non-competitive way that emphasize fun, such as: Jump rope , biking and hiking, dance , frisbee , miniature golf , karate, swimming. Make a rule that when friends are over, the TV and video games aren’t used for the first hour. Then give your child a certain amount of allowed time to use electronics, such as 20 minutes.On the weekends, plan family activities, such as hiking or biking along the Truckee River, Martis Valley Road or the Tahoe Rim Trail.Ages 13 to 17Teens can focus on the tactics and strategy involved in sports, so they can participate in competitive play. However, finding activities specific to your child’s strengths is key to developing a lifelong enjoyment for fitness.In addition, children need activities to build upper body strength such as weight lifting, Pilates or body weight activities. Many children have terrible posture today because of lack of upper body strength – partly due to sitting in front of computers and video games and partly due to carrying huge backpacks.Here are activities that develop skills, strength and promote long-term participation in exercise: Light weight lifting (supervised, and with a physician’s approval), running, cycling or skateboarding, hiking or swimming.Get a Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance Fitness Center Membership. TCHSP welcomes children, 13 and older to become members and join their parents or guardian for a workout using our free weights, weight machines, cardio equipment, or attend group exercise classes like Pilates, Toned UP!, Ultimate Burn Off, Cardio Blast or Super Circuit.Participate in the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance Speed Camp – this training program will enhance athletic performance in a variety of different sports as all sports are speed dependent! At this camp the fundamentals of speed are covered in practice sessions that encourage development and refinement of agility, coordination and movement efficiency. Open to ages 11-17. Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to noon, Aug. 3-6.
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