For young children, health and physical activity are focused more on active play and exploring their physical environment. However, the type of physical activity that children engage in usually depends on various factors such as age and development (Donnelly et al., 2016). For instance, "tummy time" plays an important role in strengthening the muscles of infants, which in turn, facilitates their crawling and walking. This paper examines how children's health and physical activity can be enhanced by creating awareness by various means such as introducing health and physical education classes within the schools. Furthermore, it will also look at the process involved in educating parents or families and other community members through the application of factual evidence and recommended examples.
Motor development skills tend to involve various activities such as skipping, jumping and running, among others. Motor development is often categorized according to three specific stages (Payne & Isaacs, 2017). These include cognitive, associative and autonomous stages. In the cognitive stage, the main goal is to create an overall understanding regarding a particular skill. The learner is usually required to identify the objective of the skill as well as relate to the environmental factors associated with the skill produced. On the other hand, the associative stage the learner begins to embody a more sophisticated movement through practice. In this stage, the learner relies mostly on proprioceptive cues rather than visual cues. The autonomous stage is often regarded as the final phase of learning. The more the learners progress through this stage the more they acquire the necessary skills needed to enhance their learning capabilities.
Physical activity can enhance the development of children in a variety of ways. For instance, it promotes their healthy growth and development, self-esteem as well as social interaction with friends, among others. When engaging children in physical activities, the schedule should include warm-ups and cooldowns, plenty of hydration, wearing protective equipment, and matching them in accordance with their fitness level. Some of the physical activities that promote health and well-being include endurance or aerobic activities, flexibility exercises and strength activities such as gymnastics.
Promoting healthy growth and development in children can only be sufficient if effective strategies are developed. As such, the need to encourage children to participate in various physical activities remains to be a key focus of efforts to enhance population health (Hills, Dengel, & Lubans, 2015). For instance, school is often considered as a viable setting for children to engage in activities related to health promotion. Despite the fact that a variety of factors at a number of ecological levels influence health behaviors, family environment, and the community, in general, serve an important purpose on the health behaviors of children. Through this ecological perspective in health behavior, many efforts have been made to consider the promotion of these physical activities in various settings. Overall, the implementation has been effective over the years in various international policy documents.
In a home setting, families can engage in various physical activities by doing different kinds of housework such as cleaning or tidying the kitchen table, the sofa or the bed. Furthermore, the intensity of household chores can be increased through the use of time limits. In turn, this will ensure efficiency as everyone will work in accordance with the time schedule. Families can also come together to participate in various recreational activities such as dancing, swimming, and competitive sports. On the other hand, families can also practice healthy eating habits through the inclusion of fruits and vegetables in their diet, a variety of positive contexts and foods to enhance new sensations as well as developing a model suitable for healthy eating.
Families can make healthy lifestyle choices through a number of ways such as eating right, limiting alcohol intake and participating in various sporting activities. Eating right often helps people to stay healthy. By including a lot of nutritious foods in the diet such as fruits and vegetables and whole grains, individuals can benefit by maintaining a healthy weight as well as preventing any medical problems. On the other hand, excessive alcohol intake is often harmful to the health of an individual. As such, the intake of alcohol should be regulated to prevent further health issues. Engaging in sporting activities may be used as an alternative way to promote psychosocial health as well as physiological, cognitive and affective behaviors.
Since children learn through play, it is essential for a physical education program to be included in their curriculum. In turn, this will enhance their performance both physically and academically. Physical activity often plays an important role in the development of children. Lack of physical activity may lead to various health problems such as high blood pressure and weight gain. As such, children should be encouraged to participate in these activities with the help of their parents and the community as a whole. Furthermore, they should also be guided to develop healthy eating habits. These may range from providing them with a wide variety of healthy foods to choose from to including fruits and vegetables in their diet. Through this recommendation, children can be able to perform better in schools and life in general.
Donnelly, J. E., Hillman, C. H., Castelli, D., Etnier, J. L., Lee, S., Tomporowski, P., & Szabo-Reed, A. N. (2016). Physical activity, fitness, cognitive function, and academic achievement in children: a systematic review. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 48(6), 1197.
Hills, A. P., Dengel, D. R., & Lubans, D. R. (2015). Supporting public health priorities: recommendations for physical education and physical activity promotion in schools. Progress in cardiovascular diseases, 57(4), 368-374.
Payne, V. G., & Isaacs, L. D. (2017). Human motor development: A lifespan approach. (1 edition) Routledge.
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