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Should I Start My Child on an Exercise Program?

My 12-year-old son is gaining weight quite rapidly. He was always "just right" until middle-school homework cut into his play time. Should I start him on an exercise program?
Rose

As kids get older, they often have more homework and other responsibilities to balance.

Help your son make a schedule, such as an hour of playtime after school, followed by time for homework. Encourage him to get involved in an activity he enjoys, whether it's a team sport like basketball or soccer or just biking around the neighborhood with friends. He'll be more likely to stick with it if it doesn't feel like a chore.

Keep lots of healthy foods in the house and be a good role model — he'll see how important exercise is if you make time for it too.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: October 2009

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