Children First: Giving kids a healthy start to 2013 - KOTA Territory News

Children First: Giving kids a healthy start to 2013

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Most of us make a resolution to get in shape every New Year. But with national childhood obesity rates bulging at 17%, fitness experts say this year's fitness goals should include kids, since adults aren't the only ones hitting the gym hard in 2013.

"I actually wanted to lose weight as one of my New Year resolutions," said 12-year-old Danielle Konechne.

"I want to try to eat more vegetables and fruits, like 5 servings a day," added her 10-year-old sister Jocelyn Konechne.

The two were playing basketball at the Rapid City YMCA Wednesday; a small stride that could make all the difference in their diets or waistlines. Fitness experts say keeping a child active for 60 minutes a day for at least 3 days a week can help curb or even prevent obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 18% of high school children meet that physical activity recommendation.

"It is staggering," said Terry Seyer, Rapid City YMCA Associate Wellness Director. "You can definitely see how technology is affecting our health. And the real staggering thing is the habits that these kids have now. And if they carry throughout their life, the risk for chronic disease only increases."

Seyer says while there's no substitute for exercise, physical activity doesn't have to be a chore.

"If you can incorporate a game with your staircase or even going around the yard and picking things up and picking around the house, you know seeing how many items they can pickup in a minute,' said Seyer. "It's just something to get them moving."

He says exercise keeps them moving physically while actively moving toward their New Year's goal. Seyer says in addition to exercising with kids, parent should also curb the amount of process sugar and carbohydrates that are in their child's diet.

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