When Getting Kids to Exercise More, the Apple Won’t Walk From the Tree

when parents increase their activity level so do kids

when parents get more exercise so do their kidsJust about every discussion of childhood obesity includes a recommendation that parents set a good example for their kids by getting more exercise. But are our children really paying any attention to what we do? According to Kristen Holm, Assistant Professor of Medicine at National Jewish Health, the answer is a definite Yes. When parents increase their own levels of physical activity, their children do the same.

Holm and her colleagues tracked 83 families that were enrolled in a special program aimed at keeping overweight and obese 7-14-year olds from putting on even more weight. The researchers gave parents and children pedometers and asked them to walk an extra 2,000 steps per day. When the parents achieved that goal, their kids logged an average of 2,117 extra steps. But when the parents fell short, so did the kids.

As you might expect, parents and kids were more likely to hit the mark on weekends—typically a time when families are up and around and more likely to exercise than during the week. But what was especially interesting is that the effects generally didn’t last. In other words, walking 2,000 extra steps one day didn’t make anyone—adult or child—more likely to do the same thing the next day or the day after that.

Bottom line? If you want to change behavior, you can’t just do it once and hope it’ll happen again by itself.  Exercise needs to be a part of our daily lives, whether you want to do it or not.

Making Changes + Achieve the Extraordinary + Protect against Bullies

[amazon asin=B00AHF87QM&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Jeremy Dean, author of Making Habits, Breaking Habits
Topic:
Why we do things why we don’t, and how to make any change stick
Issues: Where do bad habits come from? Why it can take weeks or months to create and implement new behaviors and weed out old ones; avoid frustration and learn to navigate habit-forming pitfalls and successfully build new, long-lasting practices.

[amazon asin=0385520557&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Bill Strickland, author of Make the Impossible Possible
Topic:
One man’s crusade to inspire others to dream bigger and achieve the extraordinary.
Issues: A successful life is not something you simply pursue—it’s something that you create; how to stop going through the motions of living and how to savor each and every day; how the way we treat people and ourselves influences the kind of life we have.

[amazon asin=0470407018&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Allan Beane, author of Protect Your Child from Bullying
Topic:
Advice to help recognize, prevent, and stop bullying before your child gets hurt.
Issues: Tell-tale signs that your child is being victimized; understanding the characteristics that make a child an easy target; how to give your child a solid foundation for dealing with bullying situations; why not to teach a child to physically retaliate against a bully.