WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News, Weather, & Sports

Don't Let the Cold Weather Keep Your Kids Inactive

By: Mary Rinzel
By: Mary Rinzel

It's New Year's Eve and there's snow on the ground, both sure signs of winter.
But these cooler months can present a problem in the fight against childhood obesity.
The stats are alarming. Thirty percent of America's youth is over-weight; 15 percent is obese.
And winter doesn't help, children burn about half as many calories this time of year as they do in the summer.
Mary Pica Anderson is an Associate Director at the Eau Claire YMCA. She says this is because "kids become less mobile. Normally they may ride bikes to the park or swimming pool, now they're driving places because of cold weather or snow."
While the snow may make sidewalks and playgrounds a little difficult to play on, it does have its certain appeal. A lot of kids hit the sledding hill today.
And even if it's too cold outside or your kids are too young to tear down a neighborhood hill, parents need to be involved.
Dietitian Liz Spencer says "Go places with them. Take them to the YMCA, or the sports club, or the nearest sledding hill. Just do it together."
Eric Wiggin makes a trip to the YMCA a family event. While his wife works out, he watches their three boys until it's his turn to hop on a treadmill.
"I'm having just as much fun playing with the kids in here as I would working out," Wiggin says. "We try to keep the kids as active as we can."
For the first time the American Academy of Pediatrics has some very specific guidelines on just how active they should be. They recommended kids get at least one hour of active play a day.
Experts say by limiting their TV and computer time to two hours a day, that's much more likely to happen.
And that can help you get your exercise as well.
Wiggin says just chasing his kids around is keeping him active.


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