Dr. Henry Paul, MD

Psychiatrist, Author and Educator


September 30th, 2015

“Children who sit too much may face adult-sized health consequences, according to a sobering new study of healthy young girls.” NY TIMES September 23, 2015


Whether it’s online or on television, in school or at work, from our elected officials or at the doctor’s office we have all heard the message loud and clear – American’s need to lose weight! Obesity is a problem in this Country, and it’s a crisis for our children. So I wasn’t surprised by the new study out this week about children and the dangers to their health if they sit too much.

We all know that adults are sitting too much at their jobs and because of it have all kinds of health issues from weight problems to back and neck pain. In addition there are metabolic and vascular medical problems that emanate from inactivity.

There have been plenty of studies on adults to see how sitting too much effects overall health, but until now there haven’t been any studies on children. Researcher Ali McManus decided it was time to have children sit still so she could study how it affects their overall health. What she discovered in her study was that excessive sedentary behavior has serious clinical and public health implications on children. Were you surprised? I wasn’t.

Here are some things that I recommend to help keep your child active.

  • Encourage your child to join a sports team at school. Intramural sports are as good as joining a team.
  • Sports that are off the playing field such as skiing, swimming, Tae Kwon do, running, kick-boxing, resistance/weight training, etc. are very good for exercising. These days with extreme sports kids are finding where they “fit in” so take an interest in what they’re interested in and encourage them to pursue it.
  • Enlist your kids to do chores that include; helping outside with lawn mowing and gardening, washing the car, helping in the house, raking, and so on. And, when they run out of things at home encourage them to help others. Grandma usually always has a little yard work she needs to be done!
  • Get outside with your kids. Throw a ball, play hop-scotch, go to the track and run with your son, or bike ride with your daughter. Set a good example. It is not only good for your kids, but it is good for your health, too.
  • Limit the things that keep your children sedentary such as television and computer time.

It’s not easy for any of us – young or old – to integrate exercise into our daily routine. As much as our kids will benefit from it adults will benefit too. Making exercise a family affair will go a long way.

Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any

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