Archive for

Diet and Fitness Tips for Lasting Weight Loss for Kids and Teens

One of the largest challenges that any child can face is being overweight. Not only are overweight children more likely to be heavy adults, but they also face many emotional and physical side effects even as kids because of the extra weight. They may become withdrawn, suffer from low self-esteem, and avoid activities that they enjoy because they feel that they are too overweight to participate.

If your child or teenager is overweight and needs to lose weight, they can follow some of these easy-to-use diet and fitness tips. These will help them change their minds about healthy food and get moving in a fun, yet effective, way.

Diet Tips

No one wants to go on a “diet” and kids most certainly will balk at the idea of diet food. But healthy eating principles are more than just a fad diet or something that will last for a few weeks. Nutritious noshing should be an essential part of any child’s everyday life (as well as any adult!) and so kids need to apply principles to their everyday eating that can be turned into long-term habits. Some ways that kids can change how they eat and lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way include:

  • Cut back on junk food, but do not cut it out completely. Many kids struggle with feeling like they cannot eat the things that they really love because they are on a diet. If your teen or kid simply eats what they love in moderation, filling up on the good stuff and then having junk food as an occasional treat, they can lose weight and keep it off. As soon as a kid thinks that they can never have French fries or candy again, they will covet them even more. Moderation is the key with junk food.
  • Focus on eating at the table and not in front of the television. Kids should avoid eating in front of the television or the computer, because this is when they eat when they are not hungry and eat more than they need to. Try encouraging everyone in the family to eat meals and snacks at the kitchen table.
  • Avoid fast foods and make meals and snacks at home. Fast food can be dangerous to any healthy lifestyle. Children who eat meals and snacks at home as opposed to at fast food restaurants tend to be at healthier weights than those who exist solely on drive-through fare.
  • Build meals around fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals and are the perfect base for any meal or snack. Kids can lose weight simply from swapping French fries and candy for veggies and fruits.

Exercise Tips

No healthy life makeover for kids is complete without exercise. Some top tips for kids to follow to get in shape and stay healthy include:

  • Move for 20-30 minutes a day. Kids can walk their dog around the blog, go for a jog, shoot hoops in the front yard, jump rope or any other physical activity for 20-30 minutes per day. This can help them to get active and burn calories while doing something that is enjoyable.
  • Take up a new sport. Sports are one of the best ways for kids and teens to lose weight because they are fun and they foster a sense of connection with other kids. Look for neighborhood baseball or soccer leagues, sports at school that are “no cut” sports (like track and cross country) or even sports leagues at your local gym or church.
  • Play video games that are active. Many new video games combine video game play with exercise, such as Wii games. Kids can play these for a half an hour or so after school and get the necessary activity they need to be healthy.

Teenagers and children can also find out more healthy eating tips and exercise tactics when they attend fitness camps. These summer weight loss camps can help them to foster healthful eating habits, learn new exercises and make new friends all at the same time. They can help to teach kids methods for weight loss that they can use for the rest of their lives. They may also help kids who were suffering from low self-worth to get out of their shells and meet new people.

Kids and teenagers do not have to spend the rest of their lives overweight, as long as they adopt healthful eating habits and make exercise a part of their daily lives.

Choosing a Video Game System: Which One Is Best for Kids?

In the old days, choosing a video game system for children wasn’t all that hard. After all, parents didn’t have to worry about games carried by systems like Atari (there was nothing threatening about Pac-Man or Space Invaders). Today, however, with the proliferation of games with mature content available on games supported by the major system manufacturers, parents want to know which system carries the most kid-friendly games, ones that the young ones will enjoy and one that parents will not regret spending money on.

Let’s start with the Sony PlayStation 2, the best-selling game console on the market today. There are literally thousands of titles available for this system, which cater to every age range. There are approximately 600 games for the PS2 that have the “E” rating, meaning that it is suitable for players ages six and above. However, many of these games are too complicated for young children to play. Games that children ten years old and above can enjoy are rated E10+, while those that are rated EC (Early Childhood) are of course, suitable for the very young. The PS2 carries about a dozen E10+ games, including movie-based titles like Shrek Super Slam for PlayStation 2 and Chicken Little. EC titles that little ones can enjoy include Dora the Explorer: Journey to the Purple Planet, Eggo Mania and At the Races Presents Gallop Racer.

Nintendo’s GameCube console continues to be popular because it carries titles that are popular with children. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) lists 263 video game titles rated E for the GameCube, and these include some of the most popular and beloved among the children of today and years past, such as Sega’s Sonic GEMS Collection, Nintendo’s own Mario Party 6 and Mario Tennis. The Legend of Zelda series and several Pokemon titles are available exclusively on the GameCube as well.

Microsoft’s Xbox and Xbox 360 video game consoles likewise have many, many titles that are rated E; the Xbox with approximately 270 games and the Xbox 360 with so far about a dozen — but count on the number of Xbox 360 titles to increase since it’s a new release. Some games published by Microsoft exclusively for the Xbox and the Xbox 360 and which have the E rating are Astropop and Feeding Frenzy. However, remember that most game publishers release crossover titles, or games that are available on multiple platforms. For instance, Eidos Interactive’s LEGO Star Wars (rated E) is available for the GameCube, PS2 and Xbox; Activision’s Madagascar (rated E10+) is available on the same platforms, while Global Star Software’s Dora the Explorer (rated EC) is available on the PS2 and Xbox, but not on the GameCube.

What about parental control options? Among the four systems, the Xbox and the Xbox 360 have the most efficient parental lock functions. Parents are able to set limits on the games and films to be played on the systems. If you set the system to play only E-rated games, kids won’t be able to play DVD’s or games that have Teen, Mature, or Adults Only ratings. The GameCube also has a parental lock feature, albeit a less effective one. Users note that all it does is tone down certain effects that might be troubling for children (for example, the amount of blood seen in games) but do not block the playing of games at all. It doesn’t even screen or bleep offensive language. The parental control function of the PlayStation 2 is even worse — it doesn’t allow parents or anyone to restrict access to video games at all. The most parents can do is to set the PS2 to prevent their kids from watching DVD movies with inappropriate content.

When it comes to price, the GameCube comes out tops. Available for only $99, it’s significantly cheaper than the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, whose prices range from $150 to $199 (or more if bundled with game titles). The Xbox 360, being the newest of the bunch, is the highest-priced. For $299, you get the system and a wired controller. For $399, you get a wireless controller, a headset that players can use to talk to other people online, a 20 GB hard drive that is loaded with game-related videos and music, and a remote.

Parents should go out and try each system personally as well as look at the different titles available for them before deciding which one to buy. Factors such as number and age of users at home, game title availability, and budget should also be considered. Each system has its own pros and cons, and families will differ in their preferences: some will be content with the limited but popular games of the GameCube; some might prefer the wider offering of the PlayStation 2 or the Xbox; others might opt for the high-tech features of the Xbox 360. But all things considered, making the right choice will provide hours of wholesome, fun, and worry-free entertainment for the little ones and for their parents as well.

Benefits of Playing With Educational Games

Various educational games for children can be found in the market nowadays. Nearly all youngsters relish the challenge of engaging in these kinds of games, and the process of participating in some of the activities may actually make them wiser and much more capable.

Especially for small children, board games and different types of educational games that invite physical interaction play an essential part in enhancing and improving motor skills. Games which often promote manual dexterity and improve sense of balance help little ones coordinate the body with the brain and try out how the two entities cooperate. State-of-the-art video and electronic-game systems also have the advantage of developing hand-eye coordination and visual focus.

According to a medical doctor in Boston, interactive games have the major benefit of developing social skills through stimulating diplomatic and structured interaction among children. If parents aren’t playing, kids have to decide ground rules, adhere to a set system of guidelines and take turns to keep the game running. Learning games promote cooperation and may possibly even play a role in the development of children.

Numerous educational games, especially board games, have the ability to enhance children’s focus and increase their attention spans. Kids who quickly get discouraged and might quit other activities without seeing quick results might tend to continue with games for extended time frames because of the probability of advancement and rewards. Finally, sticking with a game through its course can help kids develop patience and maturity.

Several educational video games seem to increase children’s self-esteem and impart a positive feeling of achievement. Educational games whether they comprise of solving a problem or completing a virtual level, offer rewards for tasks that kids have independently completed and may encourage them to take productive risks in other areas of their lives as well.

Board games, concentration games and mathematics activities call for memorization and repetition for success, and kids who play them often learn the merits of exercising those skills. Since many tests and quizzes in elementary school, middle school and beyond are set in identical formats to those found in board games and quiz games, kids can better their chances of scoring well by mastering those systems and formats in a playful setting.

Educational games that inspire imaginative expression force kids to think outside the norm. Exploring and expanding creative imagination through such games can also help with nurturing self-esteem and self-acceptance.