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Fitness and the Young Child

by James M. Poole, MD, FAAP
January/February 2000
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/fitness-and-the-young-child/5013149/

The fitness craze is upon us; people are running along the streets, joining health clubs, and spending millions of dollars on nutrition and diet supplements. It is well proven that there is a relationship between an inactive lifestyle and the development of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and being overweight. Magazine and television models promote the in shape look. Unfortunately, with all this surrounding our everyday life, over 50% of American men and women are overweight, and many of them are obese. Just as we are working at getting in shape and being fit, our society is running in the other direction. Something is happening to our own behavior that allows us to be okay with being overweight. The victims in all this could be our preschool children, as the promotion of eating habits, activities, and sedentary lifestyles are taught in childhood.

Preschool children are active by their very nature. They tend to have an inherent drive for motor activity. In looking at the behavior of young children, notice how they explore their environment, go to all corners of the room or playground, achieve physical closeness, and enjoy communicating with others. These are all essential for proper cognitive, emotional, ...

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