It’s no surprise that making time for daily physical activity and adhering to a balanced diet are essential to leading a healthy lifestyle. Most parents know that being physically active and eating healthy are important for their children. However, not as many understand why. Here are some surprising facts you may not have known or thought about that show how even the smallest choices we make around eating and exercise can have a big impact on a child’s health.
- Nine out of 10 parents think their children are fit when, in reality, only 1 out of 3 children are physically active every day.
- The heart is the strongest muscle in the body and is three times more efficient at burning calories than fat. For every pound of muscle gained, the body uses an extra 50 calories per day.
- A recent study by the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play found that 80 percent of elementary schools have eliminated recess in an effort to give children more time to study academics to pass tests. An earlier blog post by Dr. Laura Jana delves deeper into the unfortunate repercussions of this trend.
- According to the Journal of Pediatrics, the prevalence of obesity among preschool-aged children in the United States who regularly share evening meals with their families, get enough sleep during the week and have limited weekday television time is 40 percent lower than children who are not exposed to any of these routines.
- It takes, on average, 1 hour and 43 minutes of walking to burn off a 540-calorie Big Mac. On average, a person would need to walk seven hours to burn off a super-sized coke, fries, and a Big Mac.
- One out of every five calories your child consumes comes from liquid. It is recommended that liquids with calories (fruit juice, soda, etc.) should provide no more than 10 percent of daily calories for preschool children. A preschooler drinking one can of soda is consuming over 600 calories, or 40% of his daily recommended calories from one drink.
- Think advertising doesn’t affect children? The Journal of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine released a study where young children rated five meals packaged in McDonald’s wrappers as tasting better than the same five meals packaged similarly without a brand name.
- The Journal of Pediatrics reports that children who eat out consume almost twice the amount of calories they would eat if they had their meal at home.
- To burn off one plain M&M candy, a person would need to walk the entire length of a football field. To burn off 18 of those little candies, be prepared to walk a mile. And, remember, one has to expend about 3,500 calories to lose one pound.
- Children seem to go through shoes every couple of months, but did you know that the feet don’t fully develop until about 20 years of age? Once that growing is complete, a typical pair of tennis shoes should last 500 miles of walking for adults.
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