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ActiveVoice: Tama Tu Tama Ora – Movement is Key!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Kids-Playing

Unfortunately, the obesity statistics for children in New Zealand do not paint a positive picture.

The latest data available from the 2015/16 Health Survey found that one in nine children (aged 2–14 years) were obese (11%) a further 21% were children overweight but not obese. 15% of Maori children and 30% of Pacific children were obese. Children living in the most deprived areas were three times as likely to be obese as children living in the least deprived areas. The child obesity rate increased from 8% in 2006/07 to 11% in 2014/15.

There is evidence that obese children are at greater risk of short term and long term health consequences. Obesity in children can be associated with musculoskeletal problems as well as asthma and children often have poor self esteem. In addition, obesity can lead to serious health concerns such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, so it is imperative that lifestyle changes are made early in childhood.

With many computer games and gaming consoles available, children are now spending too much time being inactive, whereas they should be doing at least the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

Regular exercise has many benefits! These include building and maintaining strong muscles and bones. Active children are more confident, do better in school as they are able to concentrate for longer periods, sleep better and generally grow up to be fit adults.

If you feel you or your family could increase your levels of physical activity, here are some ideas:
• Take time to have active fun with your children, such as playing outside or dancing to your favourite music. Often all it takes is a ball or Frisbee in your back yard. This is a chance to get out in the fresh air and enjoy the summer weather.
• Include active options in the weekend such as walking in the forest, or many trails around the Bay of Plenty, going to the park or playing cricket on the beach. The bonus with these is they come at no cost.
• Find fun, active ways to celebrate special occasions such as a sports challenge, going swimming or how about a cycling track birthday party?
• Take every opportunity to leave your car at home and walk, or choose other active options such as taking the stairs instead of the lift or getting off the bus stop one stop early. Think of the term ‘snacktivity’. Ten minute bouts of exercise during the day all add up!
For other ideas and information on what is available in the Bay of Plenty you can visit the Sport Bay of Plenty website on www.sportbop.co.nz. Start your journey to a more active lifestyle and better health outcomes now!

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