Daily active play and physical activity have traditionally been an important part of life for children and adolescents. Today, computers and social media have decreased the need and desire for children to move and play. Participation in physical activity decreases with age, and the decline is greater in girls than boys. The challenges associated with getting kids active every day should be met with age appropriate physical activities, enthusiastic leadership, and support from family and friends.
A sedentary lifestyle is recognized as a major risk factor for obesity and cardiovascular disease. The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents is a major public health concern, and weight related health problems are being diagnosed earlier in childhood.
Physical activity is a learned behavior that is influenced by family, friends, teachers and coaches, as well as the environment. Children and adolescents who are not exposed to confidence-building opportunities in their physical abilities early in life tend to be less active later in life. Movement skills such as running, jumping, and throwing can serve as the building blocks for a lifetime of physical activity. Children who do not develop these skills early in life may be less likely to meet or exceed recommendations for daily physical activity later in life