Health Tip: Help for Teen 'Couch Potatoes'

Make exercise fun

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(HealthDay News) -- Only 25 percent of children in the United States get significant physical activity each day, and it's this lack of exercise that contributes to the nation's childhood obesity epidemic.

Inactive teens may already have the beginnings of serious health problems.

The National Association of Sport and Physical Education offers these ways to coax your teenage "couch potato" off the sofa:

  • Enroll your teen in a class. Analyze your child's likes and dislikes, and come up with something creative. Check colleges and community programs for fun and unusual classes.
  • Offer to drive your teen and his or her friends to the ice skating rink or community swimming pool -- instead of the video store. Suggest older teens go on a hike or take a long walk.
  • Plan family activities (with emphasis on the word "active"). Instead of watching your kids tan this summer, grab a Frisbee or volleyball, and challenge them to a game. Or rent bikes and explore new surroundings.
  • Set limits on passive activities such as watching TV and playing video games.

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