Mouse Potatoes: Health and Nutrition

Are you turning into a mouse potato? If you are not getting sufficient exercise because you are constantly on a computer, you probably are. A mouse potato is the cousin of the couch potato, a person who never leaves the confines of the couch – watching the television day in and day out. Mouse potatoes are kids and adults that spend too much time in front of the computer. Both mouse and couch potatoes risk their health by not getting the right kind of exercise and diets. Without significant changes, overweight children are at risk of type-2 diabetes. As these children move into adulthood, they face serious problems with heart and cardiovascular disease.

While technological advances have improved many areas of our lives, it also has serious side effects among children: inactivity and improper eating. The U.S. government, in its yearly report called, "America's Children: Key Indicators of Well Being, 2011," indicates that obesity in children is on the rise.

In the "Well Being" government study, in the years from 1976 through 1980, only 6 percent of children between the ages of 6 to 17 were severely overweight. During the period between 2007 and 2008, that figure rose to 20 percent, a 14 percent increase. There were no significant differences between boys and girls – both genders experienced these increases in weight. The increase in weight gain among children is directly related to increased hours in front of the computer or other technological recreational activities which causes a lack of physical exercise.

For Parents

There's a saying that actions speak louder than words. This especially applies when it comes to children, who learn by example. Parents that provide their children with examples that exemplify healthy exercise and good nutrition stand a better chance of getting kids engaged in healthy activities. One of the ways parents can do this is to plan physical activities that the whole family can participate in and making it fun. Taking kids on nature walks, camping excursions or getting the children involved in sports such as soccer or Little League helps to get kids active. Keep healthy snacks on hand for children and limit fast or junk food. For more information on health and fitness for children, please review any of these links:

For Kids

Kids that are physically active are healthy and have a greater chance of staying healthy as an adult. When you are physically active and get the right amount of exercise, your body grows strong bones and muscles. When your body is physically fit, so is your brain. This makes it easier to get good grades in school, sleep better at night and enjoy things that are fun and physical. Developing healthy habits as kids will help you retain those healthy habits as an adult. Healthy adults get to do more things and live longer. To find out how you can get involved in your own health and exercise, click on these links.

Nutrition

Eating a well-balanced diet that includes foods from all five food groups and getting plenty of exercise, means that you can eat those special treats on occasion. Eating a lot of fast and junk foods is unhealthy and it poses great health risks when you get older. When you eat the right foods and get plenty of exercise, studies have proven it helps your brain cells to get the nourishment they need as well. When that happens, you do better in school and you have better decision-making skills. A well-rounded nutritional diet helps build a strong body and a sound mind. Learn more about creating a healthy diet from any of the following resources:

While using a computer is good for your mind, it's important to get plenty of exercise and eat healthy foods. So what are you doing holding onto that mouse so tightly? Let the mouse go before it transforms YOU into a mouse potato. Turn the computer off right now and get some exercise. Remember this: an hour a day keeps the mouse potato away!