We all know childhood obesity is a major problem! Over 9 million kids from the ages of 6 to 19 are overweight or obese. This number has tripled from what it was in 1980. Plus, a recent report predicted by the year 2030 over 44% over adults will be obese.
Now those are some scary stats!
Educators and parents need to make kids aware NOW what dictates healthy eating and get kids active. Actress Christine Taylor and fitness expert Bob Harper are committed to doing just that! They both joined forces with the United States Tennis Association to combat childhood obesity.
"Teens are spending up to seven hours a day in front of some sort of computer device. What I really try to get the parents to do is become more active. It's just not telling your children what you want them to do; you've got to become a part of the solution and actually do what you want them to do," reveals Bob.
As a mother of two, Christine, who is married to actor Ben Stiller, is committed to getting kids moving - including her own.
"My kids aren't naturally competitive and don't currently play on sports teams, so I always need to be creative in keeping them active. It's sort of tricking them into physical activity because it doesn't feel like exercise when it's fun or when it's a game. I also learned to put my money where my mouth is, and I participate in the game of activity with them," Christine revealed to Healthy Hollywood.
The USTA kicked off National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month during the U.S. Open. The organization hopes to make tennis more accessible to kids everywhere. They're hosting thousands of events around the country where families can experience tennis.
"Tennis lesson used to involve kids standing in line, hitting a ball or two and the moving back to the end of the line. It's boring. Now, with the equipment right sized for kids, they can rally and play their first time out," adds Christine who is a huge tennis enthusiast and has gotten her own two kids into the game.
Besides getting active, Christine also recognizes the importance of healthy eating, adding, "And that comes down to making your kids eat right and drink plenty of fluids. And that means eating well-balanced meals and avoiding candy and sugary drinks. Kids run like crazy, so they need lasting nutrition, not sugar highs."
Even her husband Ben is taking a swing at the sport.
"Ben and I like to hit around and play short matches with our own made-up rules. This shows what kind of tennis family we are. As an anniversary present last year, I got a ball machine. I feel that is going to be my motivation to practice even when I don't have a partner."
The USTA is offering thousands of events around the country to get kids on the court. Check out www.youthtennis.com. Happy swinging!
-- Terri MacLeod
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