Here’s the problem. Kids are getting fatter and fatter.
Our kids, your kids, everyone’s kids. It is a problem that is well-documented: Researchers say a combination of too much television and video games, cuts in school physical education programs and a sugary, high-fat diet have left kids dangerously out of shape.
Fifteen percent of school-age children are estimated to be obese, and the American Heart Association reported recently that more than 10 percent of U.S. children from ages 2 to 5 are overweight, up 7 percent from a decade ago. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention survey released a couple of years ago found that nearly 23 percent of children ages 9 to 13 weren’t physically active at all in their free time. They found the prevalence of children who were overweight tripled between 1980 and 2000.
Stephen R. Daniels, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and environmental health at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center said “In African Americans and Hispanics the prevalence of overweight children is as high as 20 percent.”
What’s the solution?
Some experts suggest, along with improved dietary patterns, interventions need to emphasize reducing the amount of time children and teens spend watching television and playing video games.
But this is much harder than it sounds.
A recent US report F as in Fat, concluded than 45 percent of Americans aged between 12 and 17 played video or computer games or used a computer for two or more hours every day. Furthermore, the US state with the highest percentage of overweight children also had the highest percentage of children spending four hours-plus in front of a screen every day.
Inactivity is one of the leading risk factors in developing type 2 diabetes so encouraging kids to incorporate more physical activity every day, in any form, is a priority.
Here’s a way to combat the growing problem: call it “operation get off the couch.”
The idea is simple. Teens love computer games right? And we know that prohibition doesn’t work. Ok, encouraging already technology obsessed children to get ‘into’ computer games might seem like a bad idea.
Unless, of course, the game is LIVE.
Live gaming replicates the compelling action of computer games, and ensures children remain active, whilst still having fun.
Nicole Lander said participants are always amazed at how much like real gaming it is.
“They really feel as though they are playing their favorite computer game – even the gaming guns are the same!” Nicole said.
Live gaming combines the excitement of role-playing, team-building, and adventure, and stimulates kids both mentally and physically.
Participants are equipped with gaming guns that utilize harmless infra-red beams, much like a TV remote, to target other gamers as they enact various scenarios in safe, outdoor locations.
The game involves no mess, or risk of injury from harsh paintballs, and all ages, genders, and levels of fitness are accommodated.
Andrew Roberts was 15 years old when he started playing.
Just like online gaming everyone selects their own codename; Andrew’s is “Reaper.”
“I loved it. It’s a good way to keep fit while having a good time,” said Andrew.
“I have lost about 40 to 50kgs [88 to 110 lbs] in about 18 months playing every second weekend,” he said.
“The longer scenarios, and more running sometimes all adds up in the end, to all of us being tired at the end of it. So it works,” he said.
“Kids are too busy using their imagination, and having fun to notice that they’re getting a great workout,” Nicole said.
“The best thing about it is they’re involved in something they enjoy, while getting active at the same time,” she said.