BC Medical Association

BC Medical Association

June 23, 2005 17:36 ET

Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well: BCMA Calls on Parents to get Active and Play with Their Kids to Help Prevent Childhood Obesity and Related Chronic Diseases

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - June 23, 2005) - Summer months bring changes to family routines. The BC Medical Association encourages parents to take this opportunity to increase the time they spend playing with their children. Parents who regularly engage in playtime influence their child's development by teaching skills children need to be active, and encouraging physical activity through social interaction. The BCMA's Council on Health Promotion has developed Summertime Family Activities, a tips sheet of inexpensive activities for parents and their children.

Promoting recreational playtime is a major component of the Play Well section in the BC Medical Association's Healthy Kids campaign to Eat well, Play well, Stay Well. This campaign equips parents with information to make healthy choices for their children in order to prevent and reduce cases of childhood obesity. Please visit www.bcma.org/healthykids for more information.

Treating physical activity as playtime can make active living more appealing to children, particularly those who are overweight or obese. The rate of obesity among BC children and youth has more than doubled in the past 20 years. Obesity is estimated to cost BC $380 million a year in direct health care costs.

Gardening, bike riding, and playing at the local playground are a few examples of activities that parents and children can do together. The model parents set through their own lives has a significant impact on the lifestyle habits their children adopt later in life.

When family fun continually takes a back seat to the demands of everyday living, children and parents are deprived of an important element of family life. Children will soon learn to look elsewhere for fun and appreciation.

Establishing a spirit of play opens lines of communication which make it easier for parents to talk to their child about any topic. Spending positive time together sharing fun and laughter creates strong families.

Summertime Family Activity Tips

June 23, 2005 - The BC Medical Association provides the following list of inexpensive playtime activities for families. Active playtime is encouraged through the BCMA's Healthy Kids campaign to Eat well, Play well, Stay Well in order to prevent and reduce cases of childhood obesity. Please visit www.bcma.org/healthykids for more information about the Healthy Kids campaign.

1. Travel by foot

Take a walk or go for a hike as a family. Make an adventure of it by pointing out items of interest along the way. This is an excellent opportunity to explore your own neighbourhood or investigate new lands.

2. Play at your local park or recreation area

Rather than sitting on a park bench and watching from the side, join your children in the playground. Catch them at the bottom of the slide, push them on the swings, and help them climb the apparatus. Your involvement will encourage your children to live an active life.

3. Move your wheels

Many neighbourhoods have biking trails and inline skating routes. Find the routes in your neighbourhood.

4. Design your own game

Create your own fun together by having a scavenger or treasure hunt, making a music video, or designing your own brand new game to play.

5. Gardening with your kids

Children and parents can dig holes together to plant vegetables or flowers, weed the garden, and water the garden to help it grow. Gardening teaches children principles about how things grow and develop when nurtured.

6. Participate in sports

Become a coach or organizer for a local sports team. Baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer and other games enjoyed by children are made better with parent involvement.

7. Dance to the Music

Put on some music and dance together at home.

8. Off to the beach

If you live near the ocean or a lake, visit the beach to enjoy some water sports, run in the water, or build sand castles with your children.

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