In the past thirty years, obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents, and sadly, that trend is on a steady incline. In fact, a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association confirmed that over one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese in 2012. A study published in Pediatrics showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were highly likely to be obese adults.
Considering the health risks associated with being overweight or obese, even more so at an early age, those statistics are alarming. Here is why – children are not excluded from suffering the life-draining and potentially fatal immediate and long term effects of being overweight. For example, overweight children, like adults, have increased risks for cardiovascular diseases such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. In fact, in a population-based sample of 5 to 17 year olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Other immediate risks involved with heart disease are bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem. Some long term health risks that affect overweight children are type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, and several types of cancer including breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
With kids reaching for an iPad more often than running outside, the face-to-screen generation that emerged within the last decade is a primary reason why 1 out of 3 kids in the United States is overweight. But not all kids have to fall into the sedentary category. Parents, being the most influential people to a child, have to lead by example to make physical activity fun and frequent. To instill active lifestyle habits in children, they need to adapt the enjoyment of physical activity at an early age.
In 2010, Partnership for a Healthy America (PHA) was created in conjunction with, but separate from, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts to develop strategies to end childhood obesity. In early 2014, FirstBIKE became a partner with PHA and committed to donating a minimum of 1,300 bikes to the YMCA of the USA and other organizations annually for the next three years. “Riding a bicycle is one of the basic physical activities that many children learn at a young age and build on as they grow up,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. “We know that early positive physical activity experiences like riding a bike are helpful in creating lifelong healthier habits. FirstBIKE’s commitment today brings these positive experiences to families and kids across the country.”
Developed and designed by Ralf Coerschulte, an avid cyclist and father, FirstBIKE was created with the intention to build the best balance bike for younger children, allowing them to learn to ride a bike intuitively and without stress. The design techniques in the FirstBIKE products guarantee safety while learning to balance, and in return, the child gains self-confidence, sense of independence and enjoyment of learning.
With a mission to distribute the highest quality and safest balance bikes on the market, FirstBIKE is committed to educating the general public about the many benefits of balance bikes and their significant advantages over traditional training wheel bikes with pedals. Training wheels do not develop bike riding skills as effectively as balance bikes. Children as young as 22 months can learn to ride intuitively utilizing balance bikes and, within hours, can master the sensation of keeping balance on a bike. After a couple years of growing, getting stronger and gaining confidence, kids can transfer smoothly to pedal bikes without ever needing training wheels. This video illustrates the balance bike method of learning to ride a bike: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB7ntnei6PQ
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