Health

New Study: Family Involvement May Help Kids Lose Weight

A mother and daughter practice basketball skills together at a neighborhood playground.

A new scientific study released last week by the Journal of the American Heart Association reviews strategies shown to be successful in helping children get healthy. Involving parents in weight loss efforts could go a long way in helping children change their behaviors, the study finds.

The childhood obesity epidemic in America is growing at an alarming rate. Our obesity and physical activity research has found that failure to address the development of regular physical activity behaviors and good nutrition at an early age in girls has major health and economic consequences. When girls participate in sport by the age of ten, there is much larger chance that they will still be participating at age 25. 

"In many cases, the adults in a family may be the most effective change agents to help obese children attain and maintain a healthier weight," said Myles Faith, chairman of the American Heart Association’s statement writing group, in a news release. "To do so, the adults may need to modify their own behavior and try some research-based strategies."

These research-based strategies include singling out specific behaviors that need to be changed, spelling out activity options for children, changing the kitchen around to make wholesome foods more accessible, praising kids for what they're doing right instead of punishing them for what they're doing wrong and having parents demonstrate a healthy lifestyle through their own consistent healthy behavior.

Parents can also help shape their children's attitude and perspective on physical activity. No longer does living a healthy lifestyle mean "exercise." Playing on the playground, using movement and dance-based video games, simply strolling around the neighborhood -- these are all valuable forms of activity and easy ways to embed positive behavior in children at an early age.

The WSF’s award-winning educational curriculum, GoGirlGo!, works to improve the health of sedentary girls and to keep girls involved in physical activity. Learn more about getting your children involved in GoGirlGo! here. Our simple and easy-to-implement resource, Tips for Getting Girls Active, provides parents with the essential information to get their girls to be physically active and help guide them to a healthier lifestyle.

Our Mission

The Women’s Sports Foundation is a non-profit that advances the lives of women through sports and physical activity.

About the Foundation

RELATED POSTS

GoGirlGo! Curriculum: Brandi Chastain talks eating disorders, body image issues

With eleven million people currently battling eating disorders and the average onset as early as nine years old, the numbers are staggering. We often look to female athletes for possessing the most powerful -- and many times, the most beautiful bodies -- on the planet. It would seem certain that these athletes would be immune to eating disorders or poor body image. This is simply not so, as we found out in soccer star Brandi Chastain's turn in our award-winning GoGirlGo! curriculum.

Disney Banning Junk Food Ads on Kids Channels

On Tuesday, the Walt Disney Company announced its initiative to ban junk food advertisements from its TV channels, websites and radio networks that target children. Companies that wish to advertise food and beverages on Disney networks will now have to meet Disney’s nutritional standards. Disney’s plan, which will not go into effect until 2015, will drop fast-food, junk food, and candy advertisements.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes, a disease that affects 25.8 million children and adults in the U.S., is one of the fastest growing health issues in our country. Broken into two types, Type 1 and Type 2, the latter is the most common form and the scariest threat for our American children. According to the World Health Organization, increased consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods with high amounts of sugar and saturated fats combined with sedentary living has resulted in a global epidemic of obesity and in turn, Type 2 Diabetes.