By: Diana Serrano
University of California, San Diego, ’17, BA Mount Saint Mary’s University, ’20, BSN
COVID-19 has greatly affected all of our lives and has created a new “normal”. This new normal has led to an increase in the amount of screen time that kids are utilizing at home. The problem with this increased screen time is that it can lead to decreased time spent on physical activity. Physical activity is necessary for children’s overall health. Currently, there has been an increase in childhood obesity in the United States. According to the CDC, children with obesity are more likely to have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems such as asthma and sleep apnea, and joint problems.
In order to combat these issues, children should be encouraged to participate in physical activity. According to the CDC, children ages 6-17 should get 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. Even with social distancing, children can still participate in physical activity. The best way to encourage children to participate in physical activity is to encourage them to choose an activity they enjoy such as doing a scavenger hunt, dancing, or going for a walk. Having children participate in summer programs is a great way to keep children active and away from prolonged screen time at home. According to the World Health Organization, physical activity will help children maintain healthy body weight, develop healthy musculoskeletal tissues, and develop a healthy cardiovascular system. Physical activity has also been shown to reduce the risk of depression and anxiety, improve thinking and cognition, and can also help children sleep better. Children are the future, so it is important that we lead by example and encourage physical activity amongst our youth so that they can live the healthy lives they deserve. Together, let’s stay active!