The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Healthy Habits

A new study out of Canada has revealed groundbreaking results: more time in front of the TV is linked to larger waists and weaker legs in young children.

Although previous studies have made the correlation among TV time, obesity and other adverse health effects, no study has made the connection between specific aspects of physical fitness and television time.

Beginning as young as age one – too many hours spent staring into that bright box can inhibit explosive leg strength as the child develops and, says lead author of the study, Caroline Fitzpatrick, to, “…the measure isn’t just important for children who want to be athletes…. Explosive leg strength is an important measure of a child’s overall physical fitness, their general muscular fitness.”

This is a crucial warning to parents. You are in control of influencing your child’s health habits. The single most important gift you can give your children – the example of healthy habits. It’s the gift that keeps on giving – for a lifetime.

You have heard the phrase, “actions speak louder than words,” and – indeed they do. As it turns out, if you are pushing your vegetables off to the side and skipping the gym in favor of TV, someday, if not now, your kids will too – only they will pay for it heavily. Especially now that most kids don’t walk or ride bikes to and from school and several more are not exposed to physical activity programs in schools.

Some studies are even linking obesity to Mom’s behavior during pregnancy. Moms who participated in regular moderate physical activity through the 36th week of pregnancy had infants that weighed, on average, 5 ounces less than mom’s that did not exercise. Past research has shown that babies weighing more than 8 pounds 12 ounces are at an increased risk for childhood obesity.

Stuck on what to do?

Well, the good news is young kids find the simplest activities exciting, fun and entertaining. Go for a walk, a jog, a run, a bike ride. Play tag, play whiffle ball, play wall ball. Jump on the trampoline, jump rope, do jumping jacks. Your kids will do the same and love it. Try something new every day for at least 30 minutes and build on the time spent and activities from there. It will change your life and the lives of your children. Read the story of one man, who made a difference in the lives of his children – inspiring the love of running in his family. Be the inspiration of health in your family and give a gift that will last a lifetime.

Although I don’t have kids of my own, I can attribute my healthy habits to the example my parents set for my brothers and me. Both my parents played on recreational teams for softball and coached us in little league sports. After school, despite my strong desire to play Nintendo, my mother urged me to spend time outdoors – if I stayed inside I would have had to begin my homework right away – there’s no fun in that! So, outside I went to ride bikes, jump on the trampoline or play football with my brothers.

As we grew, my parents stayed active in supporting our activities and continued to participate in rec leagues themselves. To this day, my brothers and I are very active – one of my brothers is also a personal trainer (K.I.C. Fitness) and my other brother maintains an active lifestyle for his budding career as an actor. I hope I can instill the same values in my children – a strong desire for a healthy lifestyle! Thanks Mom and Dad!!!



  1. Nice article and nice study..

    1. Thanks! It is interesting how science can quantify to decimal point the impact of TV time on our muscle atrophy and health decline. Thanks for the like!

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