OPELIKA, Ala. (WSFA) - Coronavirus has closed schools, canceled sports, and left more kids sitting at home, and for doctors that’s a big concern.
“In the state of Alabama, we have a 30 to 40 percent childhood obesity rate so it’s actually very high,” said Dr. Nicole Carter, a Pediatrician at Opelika’s Pediatric Clinic.
So what can parents do to make sure that their kids stay healthy? Doctors say the first step is to watch what your child eats.
“Not having the sugary drinks. Having good, healthy snacks and not having the extra that we just don’t need. We focus so much on fruits and vegetables, which you want to get two to three servings a day if you can, but protein and dairy still are most important,” Dr. Carter said. “Even if you have to do fast food and we’ve all been there, just making good choices when you’re at the window. Grilled is better than fried. Fruit cup is better than getting the fries, and a water.”
Doctors say that in addition to a balanced diet, it’s also important to make sure that your kids get their daily dose of physical activity.
“I recommend at least one hour of outdoor activity a day that’s possible. And trying so hard to limit screen time,” said Dr. Carter.
The good news is physical activity doesn’t mean that you have to run laps around your house. Dr. Carter says that there is room for creativity.
“Definitely not opposed to TikTok dances. We played a couple night games of capture the flag. I bought some chalk and made chalk balls and we did a kind of do it yourself paintball in our backyard. We made water balloons one night, " Dr. Carter said. “I run the Sportsplex Tri for Kids every year. It’s the first week of August. It’s a competitive kids triathlon, so lots of free time this summer to get out and train.”
Doctors say that for parents that are working from home, it’s recommended to take a break in the morning and afternoon to find ways to be active with your child.