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Spotlight on Craig

“The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 37 years is that, I’ve come into the second generation of campers. Parents that attended are now sending their kids to the camp, because they love Future Stars and they fondly remember their experiences.”

Charlie VanDercook

We are proud to be a family tradition.  Enjoy getting to know our Future Stars Camps family. If there is someone at Future Stars Camps that you want to know more about, let us know at:  purchase@fscamps.com

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Meet Craig Moccia as he joined Future Stars Camps for his first summer in the Health Office. 

Tell me a little interesting something about yourself.

Craig:  I am an EMT and volunteer fire fighter.

What brought you to Future Stars Camps and how long have you been here?

Craig:  This is my first summer working for Future Stars and I was looking for a job and thought this was a good fit for me.

What’s your favorite memory from camp?

Craig:  Definitely beating Javier at tennis.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

Craig:  Probably making the kids’ days better when they come in here not feeling well.

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What will you miss most about camp this summer?

Craig:  Just having fun and meeting people!

Pick one or two words that best describe your camp experience.

Craig:  Really fun!

What do you do with your free time?

Craig:  I am a volunteer fire fighter so I spend a lot of my time helping out the community back home in Bedford

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Who is your favorite fictional character?

Craig:  That’s tough, I would say Woodstock from Charlie Brown. 

What kind of movies do you enjoy?

Craig:  Rom-coms and other comedies.

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

Craig:  I like to do anything outdoors whether it’s just hanging out in a hammock or taking a hike.

What exercise do you enjoy the most?

Craig:  I love doing mountain climbers and push ups.

What is your favorite food?

Craig:  Bacon

What’s the first thing you bought with your own money?

Craig:  Probably something really silly like a pack of baseball cards.

Great meeting you Craig!

For more information about the variety of sports programs at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our Future Stars Camps today.  

Image Credit:  Craig Moccia

*Interview responses are from the Spring 2019

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Sports, Health and You

With the new year coming up and possible intentions for including a healthier life-style, you may be considering adding a sport to your child’s schedule of activities.  There are so many reasons to get your child engaged in sports and RealBuzz.com shares some health and fitness benefits that playing a sport provides:

  • help to reduce body fat or controls your body weight
  • satisfaction coming from developing fitness and skills
  • some help to fight depression and anxiety.
  • challenge and a chance to set goals
  • help to strengthen bones
  • help that can aid coordination, balance and flexibility
  • help that can improve stamina and concentration
  • opening you to experience the highs and lows of both winning and losing
  • opportunities to meet people with a similar interests and make new friends.
  • a great way for families to get exercise together
  • sportiness that encourages a healthier lifestyle.

Whatever sport you choose with your child, enjoy the good times ahead!

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For full article:  The Health and Fitness Benefits of Sport

For more information about Future Stars camp at Purchase, or to enroll, visit our Program page today.

Image Credit:  Future Stars Camps

 

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Chronic Conditions, Kids and Sports: Type 1 Diabetes

Having a chronic health condition doesn’t mean that your child has to sit out of the game. Plenty of athletes have health issues that don’t stop them from practicing, playing and competing. One of the major chronic conditions that affects athletes is type 1 diabetes. Pro football players Jay Cutler and Kendall Simmons have it, and so do basketball players Chris Dudley and Adam Morrison, and baseball player Ron Santo. Formerly known just as juvenile diabetes, type 1 often has an onset in childhood or adolescence (but it’s also possible to develop it as an adult as well). People with this disease do not produce insulin on their own. That means they need to monitor their blood sugar, watch what they eat and take insulin injections. Whether your child has this chronic condition or you coach a child with it, understanding how type 1 diabetes and sports impacts each other is critical for the athlete’s health and success.

Blood Sugar and Activity

It’s common to see a drop in blood glucose (blood sugar) levels with or after exercise. What does this mean for a child who plays sports? To start with, it’s absolutely essential for the child to monitor their blood sugar during practice and directly after. Of course, proper blood glucose testing is always a must-do. When you add in physical activity, the child may see a sudden drop. These lows can result in serious symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, nausea, seizures, or unconsciousness.

Many diabetics are able to feel lows as they come on, before they get too severe. But, a child who is intensely into an activity or doesn’t want to leave the playing field may ignore the signs. This puts them at risk for developing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Keep in mind, lows don’t always happen with exercise. For some diabetics, activity-induced hypoglycemia strikes minutes or hours after the exercise is over. This makes post-practice/post-game monitoring extra-important.

Keeping Lows Away

Along with monitoring, the child’s doctor may recommend eating an extra snack before or during exercise. Before starting any new sport, always speak with the medical pro. Ask the doctor for recommendations on dealing with potential lows. Every child is different, and you need to make sure that the treatment matches the diabetic’s overall plan and needs.

Most children will need to keep a small snack nearby just in case of an unexpected low. This is typically equal to 15 grams of carbs, and may include a juice box, fruit snacks or some other carbohydrate. Children can also carry glucose tablets to eat if needed. In the event of a low blood glucose emergency, injectable glucagon is a medication that can raise the level. Diabetics should carry a glucagon kit with them at all times, just in case. Parents and coaches should know when and how to use these injectable kits. They are literally life savers.

Some children may need to stop part-way through practice or a game to test their blood sugar and eat a small snack. This can prevent or reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.

Spotting Problems

It’s the middle of a soccer game. One of the children, a diabetic, is starting to seem sluggish. The child is confused, complaining of weakness, and appears nervous. These are often symptoms of hypoglycemia. These, along with other signs such as headaches, sweating, chills, clamminess, irritability, sleepiness, anger (for no real reason) and lack of coordination, may all mean that the child needs a dose of carbs.

If you spot a possible problem, stop the child immediately. Time is not a diabetic’s friend when it comes to lows. Have the child test their blood sugar. If the level is low, treat it with glucose tablets or a snack. Instead of letting the child go back into the game right away, wait 15 minutes. Have the child re-test. If the blood sugar is still low, have another serving of carbs and wait again to re-test. If it’s normal, the child can go back to the activity.

Medical Professionals and Education

Including the child’s doctor in the choice to play a sport is necessary. Unless there are other issues going on, it’s unlikely that the doctor would nix the notion of playing a sport. The medical professional can create a revised treatment plan, taking the new physical activity into account. The doctor can also provide coaches or teammates with extra information on type 1 diabetes. Along with the doctor, organizations such as the American Diabetes Association, are resources that offer plenty of easy to understand information.

Type 1 diabetes is a complex chronic condition. Exercise can bring on life-threatening lows. Obviously, this is a scary thought for any diabetic, parent or coach. Even though physical activity can drop the child’s blood sugar, exercise and athletics are important for the diabetic’s overall health. Unless a doctor says otherwise, quitting the team because of a diabetes diagnosis is completely unnecessary. From pee-wee football players to pro stars, athletes of all ages practice, play their games and still manage type 1 diabetes in healthy ways.

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What Can You Do When Your Child Wants to Play, But Is Injured?

A sprain, a strain, or a broken bone. Your child is injured. Injuries during athletics are common. There are more than 3.5 million childhood sports-related injuries per year, according to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Whether your child’s injury is fairly minor or it’s much more major, it’s likely that they’ll have to sit on the sidelines – at least temporarily. Here’s where the problem comes in. Your child understands the issues that come along with injuries. The pain is real and your child  knows that they have to heal. But, that doesn’t stop your young athlete from wanting to play, practice and compete. What now?

Create an Alternative Role

Participation is a major part of sports play. Your child isn’t just an athlete, they’re a team member too! Now that your child is out for the season (or at least for right now), they need a new role. Talk to the coach, asking what your child can do to stay actively a part of the team.

It’s possible that your child can be in charge of equipment, help pass out water/snacks or act as the team mascot. Get creative and look for ways that your child can do more than just sit alone. Is your child artsy? Maybe it’s time to draw a few “Go team!” banners. Maybe your child loves cooking. Help them to bake cupcakes in team colors or organize a bake sale (to benefit the team) during the game. Obviously, these aren’t the only ideas. Work with the coach, and the rest of the team, to brainstorm other roles your child can play.

Modify the Workout

It may seem like there’s little point in going to practice if your child can’t run down the field, lift weights, or hit a ball. Even though your child can’t get completely in on the action, sitting on the couch at home isn’t the only option – it can be an unhealthy one.

No, your child can’t work exactly like everyone else is. But, your young athlete can do a modified version. Work around your child’s injuries, looking for ways that they can join in or get some sort of physical activity. This might mean extra running (if your child’s arm or hand is injured) or doing upper body-only exercises (if their lower body is hurt).

How does this idea play out on the practice field? Let’s say your child has a broken hand. When the rest of the baseball team is practicing throwing and catching, your child can run laps or do sprints in-between the bases.

Be a Cheerleader

Okay, so this doesn’t mean your child needs to join the school’s cheer squad. Chances are that their injury would prohibit this anyway. Instead of silently sitting in the bleachers and watching the team play, encourage your child to cheer as loud as they can. Turn watching from a passive activity to a totally active one. Whether your child has signs to hold up or is just using their voice, this is an easy way to make your athlete feel like they’re still part of the team.

Watch and Learn

Doing isn’t the only way to learn. Your child can also learn a lot by watching what’s going on. Even though no one wants an injury, this presents a perfect opportunity for some in-depth learning about the sport. Now your child has the chance to sit back and truly see what’s going on in the rink, on the field, or in the court.

Did a play go completely not as expected? Ask your child what they saw that contributed to it. Maybe there’s a sports superstar on your child’s team. Have your child watch what the other player does, learning from their moves and actions. From the best plays of the day to the worst flubs, your child can use this time as a chance to improve their skills through careful observation.

Choosing an alternative way for your child to participate in the sport when they can’t play is a motivating way to keep your young athlete’s interest up. Keep in mind, not all children respond in the same way to injury. Some kids are quick to get in there and cheer for their team, while others let the injury seriously get them down. Talk to your child, asking what ideas they have for participating during this time. Try incorporating their ideas with yours, and the coaches. Make the most of this time and before you know it your pint-sized pitcher or tiny tennis star will be back in the game!

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5 Ways To Keep Fit Between Seasons

You train hard for most of the year, work real hard on the field and end up in pretty good shape as a result. Then all of a sudden it’s the off-season and the urge to eat junk food whilst binge-watching  movies or television shows is strong, so you’ll need to work hard to stay in shape before the next season kicks off.

Why Stay in Shape?

Having to start from scratch, fitness and ability-wise is not easy, and it means a lot more work for you in the long-term. It’s almost unavoidable that your skills will suffer somewhat during the off-season simply because you won’t be playing as much, but that doesn’t mean your stamina and fitness levels need to drop as well.

How to Stay in Shape

If it’s the thrill of the game that keeps you playing, general fitness training may not be your bag. Here are some tips to help you get started with a manageable fitness routine between seasons:

1. Do it With Friends

The absolute easiest way to make sure you stay health between seasons is to get your friends involved. Make a pact with your team that you’ll all stay in shape and then commit to meeting every few days for some exercise during the off-season.

2. Go Running

Running is a great way to stay in shape. You don’t need much in the way of special gear, it doesn’t have to happen according to a strict schedule and you can listen to music while you do it. Thanks to GPS trackers and phone apps it’s now easier than ever to track exactly how well you’re doing. Why not challenge your team mates to see who can improve their running skills the most before the next season starts?

3. Lift Some Weights

If you want to be better, stronger and more successful, weight training might be just the activity you need. Weight lifting can help you to build your muscle tone, improve your strength and increase your stamina. To get a decent full body workout, you’ll need a gym membership at a facility with a decent weights section.

4. Ditch the Car

A simple way of staying healthy on a daily basis is to simply ditch the car. Instead of catching rides or taking the bus, use your journey time as a chance to exercise. Biking is a great way to improve stamina, burn calories, and build up a sweat. If you don’t have a bike, walking a few miles each day could help you to stay in shape.

5. Don’t Overindulge

You might be able to enjoy sleeping in and worry less about your weight during off-season, but that doesn’t mean you should give up entirely. If you want to stay in shape, it’s important to keep eating healthy. Just because you don’t have a game this weekend, it doesn’t mean you can eat ice-cream for breakfast. Keep eating healthy, protein-rich foods full of vitamins and minerals. It’s also important to prioritize rest, it’s all too easy to get into bad habits when it comes to sleep. Try to make sure you’re getting enough rest even when you do have the occasional late night. Your body is a temple and all that.

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5 Things All Soccer Parents Have In Common

Being a soccer parent gives you magical powers to spot any other soccer parents within a 5k radius. Soccer parents are your community, they know what you’re going through and here’s how you find them.

It’s important to have parent friends who know what you’re going through. This is just as important when your kids are in middle school, as it is in those early newborn days when you’re covered in puke and busy changing diapers. As a soccer parent, you’ll need some soccer parent friends to support and celebrate with you. Being a soccer parent isn’t easy, in fact, it can be hard work. Other soccer parents know what you’re up against, they have the tips and tricks that could make your life easier, and they understand just how important those games are to you. Here are five things all soccer parents have in common:

1. Messy Cars

As a soccer parent, you have no chance of keeping your car clean. You spend so much time driving around in that thing, it’s pretty much your second home. Your kids eat their dinner in the car on the way home from practice, they kick off muddy boots as soon as they climb in, and you’re forever driving over muddy puddles on the way to the field. Look around the parking lot, if there’s another car as filled with Tupperware, covered with mud and stinking of sweaty feet as yours, you have found yourself a fellow soccer mom.

2. A Total Lack of Free Time

Ah, free time. Remember that? Remember when you used to enjoy sleep-ins on Sunday mornings instead of waking early to ferry your kids around for soccer games? Remember when you could spend your evenings watching TV instead of organizing sports kits and baking cookies for team fundraisers? Those days are long gone. If you see another parent who looks like they haven’t slept in years, has a to-do list trailing behind them on the floor, and is already running late for their next appointment, they might just be a soccer parent too.

3. The Ability to Create Healthy, Nutritious and Portable Dinners

When your kids are using their energy on the pitch, junk food won’t do. You might not get to enjoy quite as many sit down meals as the average family, but that doesn’t mean your kids suffer nutritionally. In fact, as a soccer parent, you know just how important it is that your kids eat right. You know how much protein they should be getting, how much energy they need and what the best fast-acting high-energy snacks are. And, in true soccer parent style, you can pack a healthy, balanced dinner into a Tupperware for your kid to enjoy in the car. It’s your soccer parent badge of honor and you can always spot a fellow soccer parent by how many pre-cooked and delicious family meals they have packed into Tupperware in the freezer.

4. A Hoarse Voice

Soccer parents are no strangers to cheering. You can spot your comrades easily at the grocery store after the weekend, they’re the individuals who are hoarse from shouting words of encouragement by the side of the field. You’ll see them but probably won’t be able to say hello because you lost your own voice after a particularly enthusiastic bout of cheering during yesterday’s game. Hey, you’re a soccer parent, that’s what you do.

5. They Know Everything There is to Know About Soccer

You might never have kicked a ball in your life, but you’re an expert when it comes to the rules of the game. You know everything happening in the national league, as well as, how your local team has been doing this season. You know all the lingo, can explain the offside rule without pausing to think and can hold your own in a sports bar. The other sports parents are the same. You all eat, sleep and breathe soccer for your kids, and that’s a part of why you all make such amazing soccer parents. So, now you know how to spot those soccer parents, go and find yourself some soccer parent friends to chat strategy with.

 

 

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5 Reasons To Keep Playing Sports

It’s quite common for lifelong sports fanatics to suddenly question whether there’s any point in playing team sports anymore. Here are five reasons why you absolutely should keep at it.

As life gets busier, academic demands increase and you gain more freedom to spend time with your friends, it’s only natural that you reassess how you manage your time. There are only so many hours in the day and you need to make sure you’re using yours effectively to get the most out of life. Many teenagers find themselves under a lot of pressure from school, friends, family and even work commitments. How can you do all of the things you need to do, without missing out on any of the things you want to do?

Sadly, many teenagers choose to give up the sports they have been involved with for years as a way of freeing up some extra time. Of those, many later regret the decision. So, if you’re currently wondering how you can free up more time, here are five reasons why quitting your sports team isn’t the answer:

1. It’s Good for Your Health

Your involvement with team sports is one of the things keeping you healthy. The time spent training each week, not to mention the hours spent running around on the field, are what help your body to stay in shape. You’re exercising whilst doing something you love, you’d have to be crazy to give that up. Even if you drop out of the team, you’ll need to replace the activity with other exercise to make sure you stay healthy, so it may not even buy you much in the way of free time. Your health is important and team sports are a great way to stay in shape.

2. It’s Not All About Your Future Employment

Many young people decide to give up playing sports when they realize they’re not going to make a career out of it. If it’s not going to be how you make a living, it can suddenly seem like a waste of time. But playing sports isn’t just a career opportunity, it can also be a lifelong hobby that you can enjoy with friends and family. You don’t need to quit the team just because you’re not planning on playing soccer full-time. It’s perfectly ok to play for fun – in fact, what better reason could there be to play a game other than that you love it?

3. It’ll Be Good for Your Resume

You might not be planning to take up basketball as a profession, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to help you out in your professional life. Playing team sports teaches players a lot of valuable skills and employers know that. When they see that you play regularly in a league, potential employers assume you’re a team player, a fast thinker and somebody who isn’t afraid to work hard. Having that on your resume could make all the difference between getting an interview and never hearing back. Isn’t it worth it for that alone?

4. It’s Fun

You know how much you’ve always loved sports? The adrenaline, the team spirit and the celebration when you score – it’s undeniable, sports are fun. Playing on a team allows you to enjoy all of these positives whilst having fun. Okay, not every game is fun. Some games you’ll twist your ankle, miss the goal or go home empty-handed. But even on those days, you’ll have had fun, let off steam and work as part of a team. You don’t need to give up this slice of fun to juggle your school work and social life.

5. Your Teammates Are Your People

The great thing about playing sports is that you have a ready-made group of friends for life. Your teammates are your people. They know you and support you. Of course, you can stay friends with these people when you leave the team, but it will never be quite the same.

 

 

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5 Healthy Breakfasts to Kick Start Your Kid’s Day

 

Your kid has a lot to do today. There are trees to climb, problems to solve and games to be played. To make sure they start off on the right foot, give them a healthy breakfast to energize them for the day ahead.

 

Whether your kid is heading off to day of learning at school or a day of running riot at summer camp, they’ll need a decent breakfast to make sure they have the energy they need. It’s hard work being a kid and having the right fuel in your belly can make all the difference. Here are five healthy breakfasts for your child to enjoy this week:

 

  1. Oh-what-a-beautiful-morning oatmeal

Oatmeal is full of energy and will help keep your child feeling satisfied long into the day, however it isn’t super heavy so they won’t feel too full to move either. If your child has a sweet tooth, try adding coconut oil for a sugar-free way of sweetening up this breakfast option. You could also add cinnamon for some extra flavor. Experiment with different flavors and toppings to spice up this breakfast option.

 

  1. Peanut butter towers

Peanut butter is a great energizing food. It’s high on fat which is great for the brain, and contains lots of essential vitamins. Peanut butter towers combine the health benefits of peanut butter with the tantalizing sweetness of fruit. Let your kid choose which fruit they wants to use (banana or apple both work great), cut the fruit into slices and then layer up with peanut butter until you have (yep, you guessed it)… a tower!

 

  1. Sun’s-coming-up smoothie

A smoothie is a great way to give your child a boost of vitamins, minerals and energy at the start of the day. It’s also something that can be easily adapted each day so your kid will never say “mom, I don’t want a strawberry smoothie again”. Experiment with different flavors and ingredients until you perfect your recipes, and don’t be disheartened if it takes you a few tries to get it right. Add a small handful of mixed seeds and nuts for that extra vitamin boost your child will need throughout the day. Depending on the flavor, your smoothie will have a different color; spinach smoothies are green, berry smoothies are purple and mango smoothies yellow… they make for very fun drinks!

 

  1. Quite-the-morning quinoa fruit salad

A fruit salad is bound to be a hit with the kids. It’s naturally sweet, bursting with flavor and can be tweaked to fit their tastes. The only downside to a fruit salad is that it doesn’t leave you with a full tummy, in fact, your kids might feel hungry again not long after eating this. By adding some cooked quinoa to the fruit salad, you can ensure your child is getting that extra little bit of sustenance to keep them going until lunch. Simply stir in some cooked quinoa to your fruit salad and voila – enjoy!

 

  1. Breakfast burrito

The breakfast burrito is delicious, great to eat on-the-go and way better than toast. Toast is just food on top of bread, a breakfast burrito is food in a tortilla. See the difference? You can fill the burrito up with whatever you like. Great fillers include mashed avocado (full of energy and good fats), black beans (these bad boys will help your child feel full for longer) and salsa (it doesn’t sound like a breakfast food, but trust us).

 

These are only a few options for a nutritious breakfast that will be a total hit with your young athletes. Its always a good idea to involve them in the process of cooking like putting fruit in the blender or wrapping up the burrito, it makes it more fun for them and easier for you.

5 Tips For Keeping Your Kid Sun-Safe

three-ways-to-help-yourSynopsis: Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers, but it’s also one of the most preventable. Sun safety is important, even when your child is about to score that winning touchdown. —

Vitamin D is important for healthy bones. Exposure to the sun allows our bodies to produce vitamin D. For this, you only need to be exposed to the sun’s rays for around 15 minutes a day. On a sunny day, this should be enough time for your body to start producing vitamin D. Too much sun exposure could put your child at risk of developing skin cancer in later life. Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers, and the number of people affected is on the rise.

It’s important to protect your child’s skin from the sun’s harmful rays. If your child is a sports fanatic, he’s likely to be spending quite a lot of time outdoors. You must ensure his skin is protected when he’s on the field. Here are five tips for keeping your kids sun-safe during games:

#1: Apply Sunscreen

Choose a sunscreen that provides adequate protection for your child. Younger children should be wearing sun block that prevents any of the harmful rays from reaching their skin. For children aged four and over, an SPF of 30 should suffice. Sunscreen should be applied before your child goes outside, ideally around 30 minutes before to give it time to start working. It must be reapplied throughout the day, at least every couple of hours to provide your child with the maximum protection.

#2: Dress Code

The clothes your child wears offer important protection from the sun’s rays. Vests may keep your child cool, but they don’t offer much in the way of sun protection. Choose clothes that will allow your child to stay covered without causing them to overheat. If you don’t think your child’s kit offers adequate sun protection, speak to the coach about alternative clothes.

#3: Kick Off Time

Experts advise staying out of the sun during peak time. The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 11am and 3pm, and you should try to stay in the shade during these hours. This is even more important for children. You may not be able to take control of when your child’s games are, but you can try to maximize his time in the shade during peak hours. If the game starts at 1pm, try to make sure he isn’t in the sun for long before kick off.

#4: Stay Hydrated

When your child is running around and exercising, it’s important he stays hydrated. This is especially important on hot days. Your child will need to increase his liquid intake on warm days, so make sure he’s drinking plenty of water. Encourage him to keep a cold bottle of water on the bench so he can stop for a drink whenever necessary.

#5: Lead By Example

Your child isn’t going to take sun safety seriously if you are the one that ends up lobster red after every game. Follow your own advice and set a good example to your child. Wear appropriate clothes, use sunscreen and try to sit in the shade during peak hours. Always apply your own sunscreen when you tell your child to, this sets a great example and can keep your skin safe too.

Fighting Childhood Obesity Through Sports

if-your-child-is-resistingIn the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 12 million children ages 2 through 19 years are considered obese. If you’re staring at that statistic and saying, “Wow! That seems like a lot,” – it is. Although the number of obese preschoolers (ages 2 through 5 years) has significantly decreased in the past few years, the rates for other age groups haven’t seen the same decline. The CDC notes that during 2011-2012, 8.4 percent of children ages 2- through 5-years were obese. In comparison, more than 17 percent of kids between the ages of 6 and 11 were obese. That number inches up to 20.5 percent for the 12- through 19-year teen age grouping.

With millions of obese children in America, what can be done to stop this serious health problem? There isn’t one easy approach. Every child is different, making it challenging to give a definitive answer. That said, a combination of nutritious eating and activity can lead to a healthier lifestyle for kids of all ages. How do sports fit in to the mix? Athletics provide children with the chance to break a sedentary cycle, get away from the TV/computer/iPad/iPod/other screen and get active.

Given that sports help fight childhood obesity, it would seem obvious that anyone who works with kids would promote athletic activities. Or is it? According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, only six states require physical education for students in kindergarten through grade 12. With a growing trend towards academics over athletics, if you think your child is getting his fill of sports at school, you’re probably wrong. Where does that leave you and your child when it comes to exercise and activity? You have to rely on after-school, extra-curricular or community-based sports offer kids the chance to get up, get active and fight the causes of obesity.

Using sports as a way to combat weight gain and build a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean that your child needs to be a top-tier competitor. The key in fighting obesity is to get your child active, and not push him to ‘win, win, win’. Emphasizing winning and competition over the actual physical activity may put your child off and make him shy away from physical fitness even more, especially if he is shy or not exactly a natural athlete. Instead of pushing him to win, you should encourage sports as a fun activity. The idea here is making sure that your child is active. If he’s not enjoying himself, he won’t have an incentive to get up and move.

What can you do to use sports as an obesity-fighting activity?

  • Make sure that your child chooses athletics that require actual activity. Standing around on the sidelines cheering on his team doesn’t count towards his daily activity requirement. Picks such as swimming, track, soccer or gymnastics are examples of active sports.
  • Let your child choose. Forcing him into football when he would rather wrestle isn’t going to help your child enjoy what he’s doing. Give him plenty of options and don’t settle on just one at a young age. There’s nothing wrong with swapping soccer for volleyball when the season’s over.
  • Don’t let your child quit. Switching one sport for another after the season’s done isn’t the same as giving up entirely. It’s normal to feel frustrated when a sport is new. Be a cheerleader, and praise your child’s efforts.
  • Work out at home. If your child is anxious that he won’t be able to keep up with the other kids, start slowly at home (this counts as exercise too). Race around the backyard or organize a soccer game with his siblings.

Keep in mind, the focus needs to be on getting and keeping your child healthy. If he’s already obese or has a related medical condition, always consult a doctor before starting any sports program. Let the coach know what your child’s goals are and if there are any special medical considerations to take.