Two-wheeled toys best to curb obesity – expert

Two-wheel toys keep kids active and entertained. Photos: Pixabay

POLOKWANE – Toys are not made purely to entertain children, they contribute to a child’s mental and physical well-being. It’s simple, if a kid stays active, the chances of them becoming obese are minimal.

It has been said that two-wheeled toys are the best source of enjoyment and will keep kids active. This is important to remember as kids are home for the school holiday and they can get away with snacking on unhealthy food and not getting enough exercise.

According to Parenting Expert, Nikki Bush, too many South African children are couch potatoes and not engaged in enough physical activity – the only way to combat this is by encouraging a culture of play with toys that stimulate movement.

Playing with toys on wheels is another way to keep kids mobile.

According to the 2016 Healthy Active Kids South Africa (Haksa) report, South African children has a low score in overall physical activity. The report highlights the current state of South African children’s health, with a particular focus on physical activity, healthy eating and maintaining healthy weight. The report describes the lack of physical inactivity as a “global pandemic” and indicates that half of South African children are not active enough. South Africa is one of 39 countries that participated in the study.

“These statistics are shocking and also worrying. Parents need to do their bit to ensure kids get off the couch, outside and playing with toys that encourage a level of physical activity,” Bush says.

According to Bush, physical and mental stimulation is crucial and one way of ensuring kids remain fit is to encourage movement as much as possible.

“Movement and the right stimulation during play grow the physical side of the brain. The brain is like a muscle, it needs stimulation and exercise to work optimally,” she says.

She adds that when it comes to children playing with toys, they should be given toys that works both sides of the body for the best results. There are dozens of toys on the market that equally stimulates both sides of the body and quite often, they’re toys with wheels.

Riding a bicycle is a great way for a kid to stay active.

“Scooters, skateboards, bicycles and even roller blades are just a few of the types of toys with huge benefits and need to be at the top of parents’ shopping lists. These toys are guaranteed to take kids off the couch, away from the laptop and outside for some physical fun”.

The benefits are not limited only to physical activity,but playing with these toys also assists with eye-foot coordination, balance and core strength, judgement of speed, as well as direction. But Bush says parents should ensure kids are safe at all times when “wheeling-around”.

“There is a safety element attached to these toys as well and parents should ensure that children are protected at all times. But the advantages are endless and parents need to keep that in mind when shopping for toys for their kids,” she concludes.

riana@nmgroup.co.za

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Riana Joubert
Journalist

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