Fitness for Kids

Fighting childhood obesity with exercise
Children and volunteers participate in a Kids on the Move class at the Lakenheath Elementary School Gym in the United Kingdom on Dec. 13, 2012. (Staff Sgt. Stephen Linch/U.S. Air Force photo)

America's children are overweight. Why? Because we are. Two-thirds (66%) of Americans are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 15%-30% of the children either overweight or dangerously close to being overweight. That means that nearly 200 million Americans fall into the overweight category. We are setting a horrible example for our children.

According to a study conducted by Weight Watchers International Inc. and the American Health Foundation, 25% of American children are now officially overweight, and the youngest are especially at risk. These extra pounds are more than just a passing phase; another study suggests that half of obese children will become fat adults.

"Obesity among children is increasing at an alarming rate, and the health consequences are very severe," said Karen Miller-Kovach, chief scientist for Weight Watchers. Billions of dollars every year are spent on medical bills by overweight or obese patients because of (preventable) obesity-related illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

What's behind the growing number of children who are now overweight? "Lack of exercise accounts for more than 50% of the problem," said Miller-Kovach, adding only 30% of the problem is due to overeating or choosing the wrong types of foods. So let's resolve to better ourselves, set the example and get our children moving again.

Last week, I offered a solution -- my "45 Day Beginner Program" -- as part of the Get Started Again with Exercise article - for free download. Now you can get one here for your children, too. This ebook has workouts and ideas on how to get kids moving (as well as yourself) in the television room, at the playground or at the high school track. There are plenty of fun activities to do to burn calories.

Many people who are dedicated to making a difference are opening children\'s fitness franchises across the United States. If you are lucky to have indoor playgrounds in your area or want to build one for yourself, check out Rolly Pollies, which was developed by two former military officers. This is an example of kid's fitness at its finest.

Rolly Pollies is a children's gym franchise featuring fitness and fun, music, art and birthday parties. What makes Rolly Pollies a great franchise opportunity is that owners make money while making a difference. Seeing a child gain the confidence to climb a cargo net or do a flip into a foam pit for the first time always will bring a smile, but making a great living in the process adds to the reward. Children love these places and learn from a very early age that physical activity needs to be a part of a daily routine.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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