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Childhood Obesity—Are Sports Enough?

Having your child participate in sports might not be as effective as we thought. According to a recent study from the University of Minnesota, it takes more than just team sports to curb obesity among children. In fact, they found that “nearly half of overweight adolescents ages 12 to 17 also participate in organized sports activities.”

So hours of practice and several games per week still don’t cut it? Why not?

It’s all in the food. The study showed that, with all the sugary drinks, high-calorie snacks, and post-game fast food runs, child athletes consume more fatty foods than their non-athlete peers!

School of Public Health researcher Toben F. Nelson, Sc.D., spoke with parents about these surprising findings. “They say these kids are physically active, so a little bit of extra junk food isn’t really going to hurt them. But clearly the results of our study show differently,” he remarks.

So what can we do for our kids?

  • Eat well at home. Kids need a healthy and nutritious diet. Give them plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet at home gives them a good foundation for eating right at school, at sports practice, and when they grow up.
  • Talk to the coach. Find out what the team is eating and drinking, and see if they can focus on healthier foods. Healthy kids play better than unhealthy kids, so it’s a smart move for the team!
  • Send your own snacks. If you can’t change the foods your child eats on the field, you can send along healthier alternatives. This article recommends fruits, veggies and cheeses.

How do you keep your kids healthy and trim? Let us know!