A YMCA survey found that 74 percent of children ages 5 to 10 do not get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day. The survey also found that despite growing rates of childhood obesity and chronic illness among the nation's kids, only 15 percent of American parents rank overall physical health as the top concern for their children.
Financial security, education, and morals and ethics topped the list of parental priorities above physical health.
The Family Health Snapshot report comes in time for the YMCAs Healthy Kids Day event, meant
to highlight the importance of healthy living for children. The event
is celebrated by thousands of YMCA centers across the country.
“The Y knows parents struggle to find the time and resources to incorporate physical activity and healthier habits into their kids' daily routine,” said Lynne Vaughan, senior vice president and chief innovation officer at Y-USA, in a statement. “But getting active doesn't have to require a lot of time and resources. The Y created Healthy Kids Day to encourage active play and inspire a lifetime love of physical activity that's easy and accessible for today's families.”
Economy Taking Its Toll on Extracurricular Activities
According to the survey of more than 1,600 parents with children between the ages of 5 and 10, the economy has created financial challenges and time constraints that make it difficult for many families to carve out time for physical activity and to provide a healthy home environment. In fact, 52 percent of parents surveyed said they'd been forced to cut back to some degree on their children's after-school activities â€“ key ways for children to get active playtime â€“ in an effort to save money.
The YMCA's Family Health Snapshot also found:
* 74 percent of parents opt to spend family time with their kids sitting in front of the TV.
* 42 percent of parents say growing technological distractions â€“ social networks, computer games and cell phones â€“ are getting in the way of active play, although 53 percent admit they spend leisure time with their children on the computer and playing video games.
* 58 percent of children ages 5 to 10 spend less than four days a week playing outdoors.
* Parents are more concerned with their children's financial security (42 percent), education (17 percent), and moral and ethical values (17 percent) than physical activity.
“The Y is committed to improving our nation's health and well-being,” says Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of Y-USA. “We know it takes a collective effort to combat the growing rates of obesity and chronic illness in this country. Through Healthy Kids Day, the Y provides hundreds of thousands of families the resources and education they need to start making healthier choices at home, so they can lead longer, healthier and happier lives.”
The YMCA's Family Health Snapshot was conducted online by Toluna Research (www.toluna-group.com), between Feb. 9 and 15, 2011. Participants were 1,630 U.S. parents of children ages 5 to 10.