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Keep Moving!

December 2, 2014

As the days grow darker and colder and the holiday season approaches, kids will end up spending more time off of school and stuck indoors. What's more, families tend to eat heavier comfort foods this time of year - making it a challenge for many kids to maintain a healthy weight during their holiday break.

Childhood obesity is a national concern, and more than one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. In addition to overeating unhealthy foods and drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, it is thought that an increase in sedentary behaviors, such as watching television and playing video games, is contributing to the expanding waistlines of American children.

"Despite what many people may think, parents do not need to rush out and buy expensive, high-tech gadgets to keep kids active and entertained," said Allie Matarasso, clinical dietitian, Montefiore Medical Center. In fact, Montefiore research has shown that video games that require active movement and physical activity to advance the game forward, known as exergaming, do not impact children's weight. With that in mind, experts from Montefiore share simple advice on how to balance kids' diets and keep them healthy and on-the-go during the winter season.

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Indoor Games

- While many costly games and toys are available, sometimes keeping it old school can be just as much fun and a lot more cost-effective. A classic game that ensures hours of entertainment is the old-fashioned scavenger hunt. Parents and even older siblings can create clues and hide them at various spots throughout the house, so kids have to use their brain and their bodies to complete the game. The clue even could have a special holiday theme.

- Some other low-cost physical activities to entertain kids include hula-hoop contests, playing "keep the ball up" using a balloon, indoor hopscotch - using colorful tape on the kitchen floor - playing hide and seek, choreographing a new dance to your kids' favorite holiday music, practicing Zumba moves together with parents/caregivers, playing musical chairs and, if the kids are really cooperative, having them help do chores around the house, such as folding laundry and distributing it to bedrooms.

Source: Montefiore Medical Center



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