Be Active Your Way Blog
Brett D. Owens, MD: Brett is an orthopaedic surgeon in the U.S. Army currently stationed at the United States Military Academy where he cares for student-athletes. He is new to blogging, but is excited to participate representing the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
David Geier, MD: Dr. Geier is an orthopaedic surgeon and the Director of MUSC Sports Medicine. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Wake Forest University and after completing medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina, he completed an orthopaedic surgery residency at the world-famous Campbell Clinic in Memphis, Tenn. He completed a sports medicine fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as the team physician at Washington University in St. Louis and assisted in the orthopaedic care of the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Rams. He returned to Charleston in 2005 and created the MUSC Sports Medicine program.
Dr. Geier is Board Certified in orthopaedic surgery. He is a member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, an associate member of the Arthroscopy Association of North America, and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He serves on the Public Relations Committee for AOSSM. He is a principal reviewer for the American Journal of Sports Medicine and a regular contributor for Outpatient Surgery magazine. He is the Head Team Physician for the Charleston Battery and Head Tournament Physician for the Family Circle Cup. He has served as orthopaedic consultant for professional and elite sports teams, including the United States Women’s Soccer team when they played in Charleston. He also serves as the head team physician for many area high schools and is the head physician for many recreational sports teams and leagues.
Childhood obesity has become a public health concern in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 12.5 million children and adolescents are obese. This number accounts for approximately 17% of children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19 in the United States. Worse, it estimates that the obesity rate among children and adolescents has tripled since 1980.
Many factors likely play a role in the trend for increasing childhood obesity in the United States. These factors include the consumption of fast food and soft drinks, lack of physical activity, and increased time spent watching television or playing video games.
While preaching better nutrition and physical activity to kids is essential, that message will likely prove far more effective if parents serve as better examples of good health.
What can parents do to lead healthy lifestyles and demonstrate those lifestyle behaviors to their children?
Teach better nutrition
Not only should kids eat healthier foods and drink healthier beverages, they should also learn to make better nutritional choices themselves. Getting rid of junk food and soft drinks can be good start for a healthier family, but children should learn how to choose healthier foods and beverages.
One idea that parents can consider for instilling proper nutrition involves taking the kids to the grocery store. Walk up and down the aisles and teach them why certain foods are more nutritious than others. Then allow them to select some of the foods and drinks themselves, perhaps for a family meal. If they can bring their own lunches to school, allow them to choose foods for their daily lunches.
By teaching nutrition at an early age, it's more likely these youth will make healthier food choices as they get older and more independent.
Limit screen time
The amount of time that kids spend staring at a screen is staggering. When parents consider how much time their children perform these activities, they need to consider how often their kids spend time watching TV, using computers, playing video games, watching movies, or looking at cell phones.
Studies show that kids between the ages of 8 and 18 watch television for an average of 4.5 hours per day. When other forms of screen time are included, this average jumps to 7.5 hours per day.
This screen time can increase the chances that a child becomes obese. Kids are likely to snack, especially on junk food, while watching TV. Also, these young kids will likely see hundreds of advertisements for unhealthy foods and beverages during the television programs. More importantly, some of that 7.5 hours could be spent engaging in regular physical activity.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents limit their children's total media consumption to no more than one to two hours per day. While this guideline is critical for children and adolescents to follow, parents should use it as well. It is hard to preach limits on screen time if the parents come home and watch TV too.
Engage the family in physical activity
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that children and adolescents perform at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Parents can play a large role in helping their kids achieve these daily recommendations by engaging them in fun activities involving physical exertion. Jogging, walking, taking bike rides, hiking, and many other activities can be both fun and physically beneficial. To keep the kids enthusiastic about exercise, allowing them to bring their friends or encourage them to pick the activities.
If children see their parents exercising regularly, they are also more likely to accept it as a normal part of their own lives. They might look forward to exercising rather than perceiving it as some sort of punishment.
If parents commit to becoming healthier themselves - making better nutrition choices and performing regular physical activity - their children are much more liekly to emulate these behaviors.
What are you doing to engage your family in fitness?
Tags: physical activity, childhood obesity, prevention, parents, families
Barriers | Recreation
Sports participation in the United States has reached record levels, and high school-level sports participation continues to rise. In fact, the National Federation of State High School Associations estimates that more than 7.6 million high school students (over 55% of all students) played sports during the 2010-2011 academic year.
As orthopaedic surgeons, we are all too familiar with injuries that can occur in sports. But the benefits far outweight the potential for injury. Since we are wrapping up National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine would like to focus on the many positive benefits of sports - and encourage Americans to participate.
The physical benefits of competitive sports are the most obvious. Much attention has been given to the role of sports and exercise in decreasing the rates of obesity in our nation's youth. While lower body mass among athletes is certainly a desirable marker, it is not the only purported advantage of the regular exercise that comes with sports participation. Athletes experience lower rates of diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as improved cardiovascular and pulmonary function.
However, the benefits of sports are not simply limited to physical health. Here are just a few reasons to consider playing sports or encouraging your children to play sports.
A study published in Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine reported that out of 14,000 high school atheletes, the ones who regularly played sports were less likely to use drugs. Likewise, a survey performed by the National Household Survey of Drug Abuse showed that students who played sports were less likely to have smoked cigarettes or used drugs and were more likely to disapprove of others using them. Also, the Women's Sports Foundation has stated that female high school athletes are 80% less likely to become pregnant than non-athletes.
Studies perfomed among students in multiple states - including Wyoming, Iowa, and Colorado - have shown that playing sports can actually increase success in the classroom. Various data demonstrate that athletes have higher grade point averages, higher standardized test scores, better attendance, lower dropout rates, and a better chance of going to college.
A survey of individuals at the level of executive Vice President of 75 Fortune 500 companies showed that 95% of them played sports in high school. While it might be hard to argue that sports participation could guarantee higher incomes, promotions, and better jobs, the leadership skills and development of teamwork, hard work, and determination might help prepare students to be leaders at work and in their communities later in life.
While it is important for adults to be aware of the risks of injuries in various sports, both for themselves and for their kids, it is important to remember that there are many great reasons to play them as well! How are you encouraging your family and friends to get involved in sports?
Tags: physical activity, sports, high school, exercise benefits
Playing Outside | Schools
April is Youth Sports Safety Month. To raise awareness about sports injuries among young athletes across the country, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and the STOP Sports Injuries campaign are looking at an evolving trend to increase outreach - social media. The campaign has had a Facebook and Twitter page since its inception, but campaign coordinators are now trying some different avenues.
On April 4, the STOP Sports Injuries campaign hosted its first ever tweetchat, which was hosted by Dr. David Geier. People from all over the country participated in the hour-long discussion about overuse inuries. Some topics included nutrition and hydration, education for parents and coaches, tips on preventing kids from playing through pain, and terrific ideas related to single-sport specialization. A summary of the chat is available online.
With the success of the first chat, AOSSM and STOP Sports Injuries plan to hold these tweetchats on a regular basis. Twitter has demonstrated to be a great forum for parents, coaches, media, healthcare providers, and athletes to express their views and ask questions. Our next tweetchat will address concussions in youth sports. Please join us on April 25 at 12:00 p.m. EST in what we expect to be a lively discussion. You can follow along and contribute by using the hashtag #SportsSafety.
On April 17 we hosted a webcast about youth sports injuries. Speakers included renowned sports medicine professionals, including James Andrews, MD; Peter Indelicato, MD; Christopher Harner, MD; Lyle Micheli, MD; and William Levine, MD. Each speaker dicsussed various injury prevention strategies for parents and coaches to use. The event created an opportunity for attendees to interact - live! - with these top team physicians. Check back soon on the AOSSM website to view the archived webcast.
What are you doing to help promote youth sports safety in your local community? Please join us in supporting Youth Sports Safety Month, and help keep kids in the game and out of the operating room.
Tags: physical activity, social media, Twitter, Facebook, Webinar, youth sports safety
Creative programming | Recreation | Schools
This page last updated on: 11/04/2009
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Office of Disease Prevention & Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.