Should I Start My Child on an Exercise Program?

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Parents

My 12-year-old son is gaining weight quite rapidly. He was always "just right" until middle-school homework cut into his play time. Should I start him on an exercise program?
- Rose

As kids get older, they often have more homework and other responsibilities to balance.

Help your son make a schedule, such as an hour of playtime after school, followed by time for homework. Encourage him to get involved in an activity he enjoys, whether it's a team sport like basketball or soccer or just biking around the neighborhood with friends. He'll be more likely to stick with it if it doesn't feel like a chore.

Keep lots of healthy foods in the house and be a good role model — he'll see how important exercise is if you make time for it too.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: October 2013



Related Resources

OrganizationKids Sports Network This organization promotes quality nonschool sports and fitness for children between the ages of 3 and 19 through coaches, education, special events and activities, public awareness, and regular networking with youth sports organizations and agencies.
OrganizationAmerican Council on Exercise (ACE) ACE promotes active, healthy lifestyles by setting certification and education standards for fitness instructors and through ongoing public education about the importance of exercise.


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Fitness and Your 6- to 12-Year-Old Kids who are 6 to 12 years old need physical activity to build strength, coordination, confidence, and to lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle.
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Fitness for Kids Who Don't Like Sports Some kids aren't natural athletes and they may say they just don't like sports. What then?
Kids and Exercise Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better and are better able to handle physical and emotional challenges.
Overweight and Obesity It's an alarming statistic: 1 out of 3 U.S. kids are considered overweight or obese. Find out how to overcome overweight and obesity in your own family.




Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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