A recent study out of Scotland found that after the age of 7, activity levels go down for both boys and girls. When Randy Clark, manager of the Pediatric Fitness Clinic read about it, he wasn’t at all surprised.
“Finding ways to engage kids in physical activity is a huge challenge I face as a parent and in my work at the Pediatric Fitness Clinic,” he says. Clark, whose children are 12 and 14 years old, shares that part of the problem, in his opinion, is the increasing time we spend looking at screens. He shares that as part of the ‘baby boomer outside generation’, fun included wiffle ball, touch football, capture the flag, kick-the-can and skating at the local rink. Now kids are growing up in a very different world filled with cell phones, iPods, personal computers and hand held devices. For him, while they are wonderful advancements in technology, they have led to an increasing amount of sedentary screen time.”
We have a lot of success stories at the Pediatric Fitness Clinic. And when we do, we will ask the kids what helped them be successful. Nearly every single kid responds with:
- Finding something they liked to do
- Doing the activity with someone they enjoy being with
It can be challenging to find something kids like to do. And as parents, we all know that if kids don’t like to do something, it’s going to be a struggle. Not every kid will want to play little league or soccer, but with a bit of investigating and a lot of patience, you can find options out there your kids will enjoy. Maybe it’s Ultimate Frisbee, riding a bike, swimming or dancing– it may take several tries.
A family tradition. Those words inspire a warm feeling. One of my favorite family traditions involves a bike ride that captures the essence of family, activity and our glorious Wisconsin northwoods.
As a young man I spent many summers as a camp counselor in northern Wisconsin. I developed a bond with kids and the northwoods. I love the sound of the loon, the northern lakes and the majesty of ancient pine forests. I wanted to share that same experience with my children.
When film crews visited the UW Health Pediatric Fitness Clinic, it wasn’t for the latest Hollywood film – though it felt a little bit like that. It was for a documentary about the very real crisis of obesity in the U.S.
HBO and the Institute of Medicine, in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, created the four-part documentary series that brought together the nation’s leading research institutions. Part three, “Children in Crisis” focused on childhood obesity and the challenges facing kids and parents today. The Pediatric Fitness Clinic and a few of its patients were featured in the episode.
Don’t hibernate, embrace the season
Yes, Wisconsin is known for its cold and snowy winters. We have two choices. We can shut ourselves indoors, complain about the weather and wait for spring to come. Or, we can get out and play. With 2 young children, our family has chosen to get out and play. It’s easy, its fun and its wonderful family bonding time.