Friday, May 31, 2013

Do physically active parents create active teens?

For years, I have told my clients that it is important to be good role models for their children.  Our children look up to and emulate their parents.  But I am not a child psychologist.  I am a mom, registered dietititan-nutritionist, personal trainer and fitness enthusiast.  My findings about children's nutrition and fitness are based on scientific studies, books and conferences.  Now the latest study states that parent's physical activity does not influence a teen's level of physical activity.

Wow! I am so disappointed.  Notice that this study is on teens, not younger children.  I am still hopeful that parents can influence a younger child's activity level.  But I see the lack of correlation between my exercise and my teen's exercise level.  He observes me exercising regularly, but it doesn't appear to increase his exercise.  The question I pose is "How can we influence teens to be more active?"  We can limit time in front of the computer or TV. We can force them outside so hopefully they will use the time to walk around.  If possible, have your teen ride a bike or walk to school.  Get them to join an active club with other teens? My son enjoys riding with the Kids Ride Club.  Below is a picture of the kids and leaders during a 50 mile ride. What other ideas do you have?

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