Monday, November 23, 2009

Healthy Gift Ideas for Your Child

This holiday season, help the child in your life take a step in the right direction by giving the gift of good health.

“Active gifts that promote physical exercise can be fun and rewarding,” Christie Bernard, RN, BSN, resource nurse for the lipid clinic at Dayton Children's. “This year, consider wrapping up a game or toy that can provide your child with the encouragement he or she needs to stay at a healthy weight and remain active throughout the year.”

While diet plays a large part in maintaining a healthy weight, so does exercise and an active lifestyle. The newest fashion accessory for kids across the country is a pedometer, a device that measures the number of steps taken during the day when he or she walks, runs or jumps.

“Communities and schools across the country are experimenting with supplying kids pedometers to encourage activity,” says Bernard. “Girls between the ages of 6 and 12 need about 12,000 steps per day, and boys need approximately 15,000 steps per day, to stay at a healthy weight.”

Pedometers, which can range from very inexpensive basic devices to personalized “designer” equipment, are a fun way to make a game of tracking activity. They may also be a perfect stocking stuffer this holiday season!

“The holidays are a great time to introduce your child to new active games and equipment,” says Bernard. “Think activity and movement when choosing holiday gifts.”

Gift ideas to get your child moving:

  • Active gear –- Bicycles, skates, sleds, scooters, skis... anything that gets the kids up and moving. Don’t forget the protective gear that goes along with each, such as helmets, elbow, knee and wrist pads and mouth guards.
  • Gift certificates for a fitness facility, gymnastics class or dance studio – Find a facility that offers youth-oriented sessions so your child can have fun with kids his or her own age.
  • Jump ropes, tumbling mats, yoga mats and Hula-Hoops – These low-cost items can provide hours of fun while burning calories and keeping young bodies strong.
  • Kid-focused workout videos and interactive video games – Look into the latest hip-hop video for your young dancer or athlete, or video game such as “Dance Dance Revolution” and “Twister Moves.”
  • Quality time – Give your child a gift certificate that sets aside time one day a week for a play date in the park, at the skating rink, on the basketball or tennis court, on the jogging track, etc. Parents should be role models of a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that kids who see their parents exercise are more likely to exercise themselves.
About Our Expert: Christie Bernard, RN, BSN, lipid clinic resource nurse

Christie Bernard is a graduate from Wright State University in 1993. She started her nursing career at Good Samaritan Hospital in labor and delibery/mother baby . Through that experience she decided that pediatric nursing was her passion and pursued a career at Dayton Children’s. She has been a pediatric nurse at Dayton Children’s for 15 years. She have worked in the Lipid clinic for 7 of those years where she assesses and educates patients and families with obesity related complications and hypercholestolemia.

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