Physical activity has numerous benefits for young children

The creation of the Partnership was prompted, in part, by an expanded focus on the health and economic security of young Kansas children in addition to early care and education issues. As we dive into the sea of policies impacting early childhood health one thing is clear – physical activity and good nutrition is a key to healthy development.

With new information released almost every day about the many ways that obesity is harmful to adult health it is not a big leap to imagine that poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle is harmful to the health of young children as well. What may come as more of a surprise is the important role physical activity plays in child development. If establishing healthy habits early is not enough to convince you of the importance of physical activity and exercise for children, KidsHealth.org (an initiative of the Nemours Foundation) lists the following additional benefits:

  • stronger muscles and bones
  • leaner body because exercise
  • less likely to become overweight
  • lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • potentially lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
  • better outlook on life
  • better sleep
  • more able to handle physical and emotional stress

Thanks to the National Head Start Association, there is a new resource to help parents and caregivers find ways to get their little ones moving.  Among other things, the “Go Smart” initiative – complete with a mobile app – provides 150 age-appropriate activities for young children to encourage physical activity that is fun. For more information you can visit the Go Smart website or download the app.

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