Elizabeth S. Reames | 8/8/2008 6:35:27 PM
If your child slips into the blahs, take him or her to an online activity called VERB, recommends an LSU AgCenter nutritionist. The site contains fun games and interesting facts that help kids become active.
“Nothing replaces the rush and exhilaration that comes from physical activity,” says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
VERB is a national youth media program of the Centers for Disease Control targeted at ’tweens, who are in the 9- to 13-year-old age group. The program has them find a verb (such as run, paint, sing, bowl) or several verbs that fit their personality and act them out.
For example, Reames says to check out “Verb Yellowball” on the Web site (www.verbnow.com) to find games, kids' activity blogs and action photos. Kids also can become directors and mix their own Verb Yellowball video.
VERB was launched in 2002 to help young people realize that physical activity is fun and cool and can be a part of everyday life.
“Physical activity is critical to reducing the epidemic of overweight among today’s youth,” Reames said, noting that obesity costs the country $117 billion a year in medical expenses. The percentage of children who are overweight has tripled in the past 20 years.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines recommend that children exercise at least 60 minutes every day. Physical activity promotes healthy growth and development, lowers the risk of illness and improves feelings of well-being, energy level and self-confidence.
Reames offers these tips to increase your child’s physical activity:
– Encourage active play and organized exercise activities instead of television and video watching.
– Support kids when they join sports activities and clubs.
– Take part in physical activity with them – don’t just sit on the sidelines!
For more information about healthy lifestyles, contact an LSU AgCenter Extension agent. For related nutrition topics, click on the Food and Health link on the LSU AgCenter home page at www.lsuagcenter.com.