Keeping kids physically active and safe during a pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has made it even tougher for children to be active. And it's gotten even more difficult during the winter months. More than 13 million children and teens struggle with their weight, according to the CDC. Dr. Mary Jo Messito said a lack of access to nutritious foods in lower-income communities during this time plays a huge factor as well.

"It is harder to get healthy food for a lot of families, for multiple different reasons — economics, traveling, being at home all the time. So the temptation of snacking and eating processed foods is higher," said Messito, a pediatrician at NYU Langone Health. "So it's impacted the intake side of the equation negatively for many families and it's impacted the caloric expenditure side by drastically reducing kids' ability to get physical activity."

Messito added that parents can start slow with their children with online yoga classes and stretching videos. And don't be afraid to let them bundle up and go outside to get some fresh air.

Meanwhile, parents who are ready to let their kids safely have more interaction can look at options such as Kidz Fit Gym, which is a kids-only fitness center in Queens. It offers fitness classes as well as skilled activities like soccer, basketball, swimming, volleyball, gymnastics, dance, and more.

Messito said if gyms are open and following pandemic rules, kids should be safe. 

Regular physical activity can improve a child's physical and mental health, according to the CDC. The agency has tips on staying active while social distancing and following other safety protocols.

Kidz Fit Gym | Sam Field Center | 58-20 Little Neck Parkway, Little Neck, NY 11362 | 718-225-6750

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