How to get a middle-schooler to be active

The Arizona Star has an article, focusing on a Lenexa, KS, family, about the struggle to help middle-school age youngster to be more active:
The intensely social nature of adolescents suggests another strategy for getting them moving. Instead of just proposing a walk or a game of hoops, make it a social event.

"Most kids do their activities with someone else," said Jim Sallis, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University. Sallis has evaluated initiatives aimed at improving physical education in schools. "Getting a compatible group of peers is usually quite important." . . .

Several experts also emphasized the importance of creating a home environment that makes it easy for your adolescent to make good choices.

If you put your adolescent in a room with a television set and a video game, for example, "He's going to pick the TV set and the video game," said David Dzewaltowski, a public-health behavior researcher at Kansas State University.

Dzewaltowski is just finishing a four-year study of how to promote good eating and more physical activity in middle-school students.

Surround your adolescent instead with equipment and opportunities for physical and outdoor activities. Make the television and the computer and the video games less convenient.

And then clamp down on "screen time." Or require that each hour of screen time be offset by an hour spent in physical activity or outside.

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