How Personal Trainers Can Fight Childhood Obesity

Unfortunately, the childhood obesity rate in the U.S. continues to grow. There are a number of reasons for this, and modern society and technology seem to have contributed to this sad epidemic. Whether it’s fast food, video games, or a lack of physical education classes in today’s schools, the problem will only grow worse if nothing is done about it.As a Certified Personal Trainer, however, you have the ability to make a difference in your local community by helping to get kids active. In this article, you’ll learn about the facts and causes of childhood obesity, and what you can do to make a real generational shift to get kids up and moving.

Childhood Obesity – Facts and Causes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, 12% of all high school students are obese. Another fact revealed that “86% ate vegetables less than three times per day during the 7 days before the survey.” These facts have spurred a few innovative movements into action; one is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, which seems to be making great headway in school cafeteria food choices.Kids racing up stairs
Racing Up the Stairs by Neeta Lind/flickrThe CDC survey seemed to show that childhood obesity was caused by two main things: modern technology and lifestyles. No one faction is to blame, and our time is so much better spent working toward solutions.

Ways to Make a Difference

Here’s the good part: as a Certified Personal Trainer, you have the ability to help reduce the childhood obesity rate in America. You can give back to your community by creating exercise programs for kids that are fun and exciting. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Kids racing
A Race to the Finish by OakleyOriginals/flickr

1) Obstacle Course: Every kid loves an obstacle course. It’s great because the kids don’t think about exercise when they’re engaged in the activity – they’re just having fun crawling through tunnels or jumping over different objects. It doesn’t have to be fancy, either. You can use simple materials like a jump rope, an exercise mat, a “bouncy” ball, and any other object that you can think of. Have the kids do three somersaults on the mat, jump rope for ten seconds, and bounce the ball for a minute. You could then have them repeat this exercise a certain number of times, you can create a myriad of routines and they’ll enjoy them all.

Kid jumping
The Perfect Jump by David Goehring/flickr

2) Mini-Olympics: Get the kids in your neighborhood to compete in a mini-Olympics event; be sure to include a Special Olympics category for physically challenged kids too. This could be held at a local park, and you could have different events like the 100-yard dash, long jump, and relay races. The great thing about this event is that it will bring out their competitive spirit, motivating them to do their best.

3) Xbox Kinect: Since so many kids love to play video games, why not use that love to start an exercise class? The Xbox Kinect is a great video game system that uses the motion of your body to complete tasks in the game. Since you have to actually get up and move to play the games, you’re exerting more energy than you would with a typical video game. Games like Kinect Sports have running events where you have to run in place to move the character. A local YMCA or youth center would be happy to have you hold an Xbox Kinect class in their facility.

As a Certified Personal Trainer, you can help kids overcome childhood obesity and become healthier, all while pursuing your life’s work. Use your training to design exercise programs for kids that are fun, exciting, and want them coming back for more.

About the author
Anthony Jefferies is fitness instructor who also contributes content for playground equipment companies providing imaginative structures for kids, so they can spend more time outdoors in active play.