Adults might think that summertime for kids means playing outside and burning lots of calories, but nurse practitioner Susan Cluett at UVA Children’s Fitness Clinic says that this isn’t always true. “Kids can gain an average of seven pounds during the summer,” Cluett says. Whether it’s heat, parents’ schedules, the inability to find childcare, or the high cost of summer camp, many kids spend their summer days indoors and in front of screens. Plus, the structure of the school year, with its set meal times, physical education classes and recess, is missing from a lot of kids’ days during the summer.
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Without a predictable schedule, some kids can be sedentary and snack all day. This leads to weight gain. Weight gain like this can foster lifelong obesity and the damaging health effects that go with it. Nobody wants their kids to fall into this trap, but work demands and childcare costs can get in the way of the best intentions.
Healthy Habits at a Glance
There are some simple things that you can do to make sure that your kids are getting exercise and eating healthy food. This summer, try to get your kids eating more colorful fruits and vegetables and make sure their primary drink is water.