In the past, parents worried more about their children being home by the time the street lights came on than whether they got the recommended amount of daily activity. Today, parents are advised to monitor their children's body mass index (height-to-weight ratio) as the obesity epidemic among children ages 6 to 19 has reached 15 percent, almost quadruple what it was in the 1960s. Physical activity will not only help today's children by preventing them from becoming obese or helping them to lose weight if necessary, it will also teach them healthy habits that can last a lifetime. Here are ACE's top 10 reasons why kids should get plenty of exercise:

ACE'S TOP 10 REASONS CHILDREN SHOULD EXERCISE

  • A HEALTHY, LIFETIME HABIT

    Kids who exercise are more likely to keep exercising as an adult.

  • MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BODY

    Exercise helps children achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

  • MAINTAIN A STRONG BODY

    Regular physical activity helps build and maintain strong, healthy muscles, bones and joints.

  • TEAM SPORTS DEVELOP OTHER SKILLS

    Exercise aids in the development of important interpersonal skills. This is especially true for kids who participate in team sports.

  • FEEL BETTER AND SLEEP BETTER

    Exercise improves the quantity and quality of children's sleep.

  • PERFORM BETTER IN SCHOOL

    Research shows that exercise promotes improved school attendance and enhances children's academic performance.

  • DEVELOP A STRONG SELF-IMAGE

    Kids who exercise have greater self-esteem and better self-images.

  • REDUCE THE RISK OF CERTAIN DISEASES

    Participating in regular physical activity prevents or delays the development of many chronic diseases for children (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension) and promotes health.

  • REDUCE ANXIETY AND STRESS

    Children who are active report fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression and a better overall mood.

  • IMPROVE MOTOR SKILLS

    Exercise helps improve children's motor coordination and enhances the development of various motor performance skills.