Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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October 17, 2012

Advice to avoid common pitfalls for kids, adults

The Townsman has started an exercise and nutrition column, drawing on the experience and knowledge of Andover’s fitness experts. If you are an Andover exercise professional interested in offering your answers to future questions, send an email to nfater@andovertownsman.com with “fitness column” in the subject line.

This week, two Andover experts offering their advice are:

Cara Green, member advancement director at the Andover/ North Andover YMCA, 165 Haverhill St.

Art McDermott, owner and operator of Matrix Strength & Fitness

Here are this week’s questions and answers:

GETTING KIDS INVOLVED

How could you help an overweight kid who doesn’t like sports, but does love video games and junk food? (Some parents work and can’t drive kids to after school activities and monitor every meal.)

Cara Green: There are great gaming systems out there like Wii and Xbox Connect. They get kids moving with games like Just Dance and a variety of sports. Studies are being done to show that these games are helping kids to stay active and burn calories.

I would never tell a child that they cannot eat junk food. I would find out what their favorite junk foods are and discuss how they can be a treat or a “less food” and then make a plan to work them into their daily calorie intake.

Art McDermott: This is a difficult one. The initial problem deals with the maturity level of the kids involved. Telling a 10-year-old to think about health implications 10 or 20 years down the road calls for more insight than most are capable of at that age.

While a lack of physical activity is a huge part of the problem, scientifically speaking nutrition accounts for roughly 65-70 percent of weight management. A parent will get the best “bang for the buck” by focusing here.

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