Childhood Obesity Now Considered A National Health Crisis

A recent White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President, Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation, released some startling information that childhood obesity has become an epidemic in America and it is now considered a national health crisis.

According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, approximately nine million American children over six years old are considered obese. In addition, one study found that obese six to eight year-olds were approximately ten times more likely to become obese adults than children with lower body mass.

It is important that parents take the responsibility to feed their children healthy foods and monitor their intake in the early years, so that good eating habits stay with them for life. In addition, kids need exercise, which includes strength training, not only to help them maximize their bone growth during their youth, but also because kids are less fit than they’ve ever been and strength training plays a major role in reducing body fat.

The problem is that we often attempt to train kids in the same way we train adults, and guess what, just like many of the adults, they get bored! One of the problems has also been that in the past we were afraid that strength training might not be good for kids. Some kids were getting injured when training with traditional barbells and dumbbells and doctors also feared that it might not be good for growing bones. Of course we now know that if done properly, the exact opposite is true.

Physical education researchers have found that children as young as 5 or 6 years old can strengthen their muscles and bones by strength and resistance training. And when properly performed, strength training can increase bone density and muscle mass as well as tendon and ligament strength. It can also improve joint function and significantly lower the chances of obesity.

In children we call this “preconditioning.” It will not only help build strong bones and big muscles for life, but it will also help kids avoid injury in the gym or on the sports field.

When you’re training kids, you need to make sure they’re having fun. Putting them on treadmills, and forcing them into traditional strength and conditioning programs built for athletes and adults can burn them out and bore them quickly. Kids can and should still train with traditional equipment, but this should be done with a careful mixture of traditional and non-traditional movements that will keep them interested, engaged, and fit for a lifetime.

Medicine balls are one way to make it more interesting for kids. They look a lot like soccer balls and come in different shapes and colors. Medicine balls can range from 1 to 12 pounds or more. They were actually used around the turn of last century for rehabilitation with the elderly, and as with so many fitness trends they have re-surfaced and kids love them.

Medicine balls are great for kids because they are new and interesting to them and exercising with them seems more like play than work. There are many different fun exercises they can do with medicine balls to work the entire body and they are much safer for kids than traditional weight training equipment.

About Chris Gray
Chris Gray is the owner of Punch Kettlebell Gym Dover, Dover's premier personal training center. If you're not yet ready to begin your fitness journey with a free consultation, visit to instantly download a free report revealing "The Truth About Fat Loss", plus 4 other bonus reports from Dover's premier fitness expert.

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