3 Sports and Activities Against Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is one of the most common pediatric diseases. Did you know you can prevent it with simple changes in the child's lifestyle?
3 Sports and Activities Against Childhood Obesity
Andrés Felipe Cardona Lenis

Reviewed and approved by degree in physical education and sports Andrés Felipe Cardona Lenis.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Excess weight in children and childhood obesity are growing health conditions, especially due to technological advances and changes in children’s habits.

But it’s not a matter of stigmatizing technology, but rather of encouraging children to move a little more, as they did before mobile devices came into their hands. However attractive the screens may be, sports and outdoor physical activity should never take a back seat.

Here are some very useful recommendations regarding how to get your children moving. Keep reading!

Tips to prevent childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is a multifactorial disease. For this reason, several determinants must be combined for it to occur. Among them, poor diet, unhealthy nighttime habits, and a sedentary lifestyle seem to be the most relevant.

As a mother, you should pay attention to each of them and look for ways to guide your children towards a healthier lifestyle.

A good way to start is to offer a balanced diet that’s rich in proteins, vegetables, and few synthetic (or ultra-processed) foods.

Then you can continue by improving sleep habits, prioritizing nighttime rest at any age. Remember that it’s best to sleep at least 8 hours during the night in order to get a restful sleep.

Also, try to control the time spent on technologies, especially video games and cell phones. We’re not saying you need to take everything away from them. Rather, establish with your children a strategy of responsible and measured use.

Finally, promote sports and outdoor activities. These not only offer physical health benefits, such as obesity prevention, but also help to improve children’s psychological and emotional health.

Sports and activities to prevent childhood obesity

The most important thing is that the sport or physical activity that your children do is to their liking. Make sure they agree with the activity and, when they’re older, you can also involve them in the choice of the sport they’re going to do. After all, motivation will be the driving force for continuity in the future.

While all sports are good, there are some that offer more benefits than others. Here are some of our recommendations.

1. Soccer, basketball, and volleyball

An overweight child playing soccer.

These are the most common sports in the world and are a great alternative to break the vice of sedentarism and promote healthy lifestyle habits.

As they’re known worldwide, it’s not difficult to find a place to practice them. There are even free options that take place in community park courts. All you need is a ball and some playmates.

Soccer, basketball, and volleyball offer many benefits associated with their high range of motion and intensity. For this reason, children who practice them expend a lot of energy, and that favors their weight control.

2. Swimming and cycling

Both swimming and cycling are considered the most complete sports in the world. But to practice them, children need to attend specialized schools.

Their regular practice not only avoids the effects of a sedentary lifestyle but also provides numerous physical and psychological benefits for children. It’s worth mentioning that both sports strengthen the endurance and cardiovascular capacity of those who practice them.

3. Walks and alternative games

Walking is the main physical activity among human beings, as it can be done at any time or place. It’s also a good excuse to spend time doing something healthy in the company of family.

Regarding alternative games, encourage your children to practice any physical activity with their peers. Ideally, look for outdoor activities that generate good physical mobility.

Overweight parents running with their toddler.

Why is it important to practice sports during childhood?

Practicing sports helps to combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and, therefore, becomes a strategy for preventing childhood obesity.

At the same time, sports also favor the psychophysical development of children, improving interpersonal social skills.

Physical activity isn’t synonymous with practicing a sport, and the simple act of being in motion brings great health benefits. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, at all stages of life.

Childhood obesity, an issue for everyone

As a mother, you should be aware of your children’s habits and help them develop healthy ones.

Childhood obesity is largely caused by unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity. So, seek professional help from health and sports specialists to ensure good health for your children.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.