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Eight ways to turn active kids into active adults

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120810leadexercisekids.JPGBy Adelina Espat and Laura Nathan-Garner

Raising children to become happy, healthy adults is important. But how can you ensure that their bodies remain strong enough to prevent diseases like cancer?

One way is by encouraging children to exercise every day. Staying active can help them maintain a healthy weight and lower their chances of developing diseases like cancer as adults.

As soon as your children can walk, they should be up and moving. Kids younger than 6 should enjoy natural, daily physical activity like running, jumping and skipping. Kids ages 6-17 should exercise at an intensity high enough to raise their heart rate for at least 60 minutes a day, five days a week.

Have a couch-potato kid? Try these tips to get your kid moving:

  1. Be a role model: If your kids see you being physically active and having fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active throughout their lives.
  2. Use exercise as transportation: Walk or bike with your kids to school, to visit friends or to the park
  3. Involve the whole family in activities: Invite everyone to go hiking, biking, roller-skating, or to play basketball or soccer.
  4. Focus on fun: Pack in lots of walking during trips to the zoo, park or miniature golf course.
  5. Use competition as a motivator: Kids love to compete. So, make it a contest between you and the kids to see who can run faster, do more push-ups, sit-ups or jumping jacks and give the winner non-food-related prizes. And remember, winning often motivates kids, so don't be afraid to "lose" once in a while.
  6. Include kids in household activities: Many household chores also are great opportunities to sneak in a little physical activity. Encourage physical activity by having your kids help out with washing the dog or the car, or mowing the lawn.
  7. Give gifts that promote physical activity: Rollerblades, bicycles, ice skates and soccer balls make great gifts for birthdays and holidays. Even better, they encourage your kids to get moving.
  8. Limit TV and computer time: Offer active options, like joining a local recreation center or after-school program, or taking lessons in a sport they enjoy.
A healthy diet also can help put your kid on the path to healthy adulthood. Looking for kid-friendly foods? Get nutrient-packed snack ideas in this month's issue of Focused on Health.

You'll also find our recipe for peanut butter yogurt dip -- it's sure to please every tiny taste bud. Learn which water drinks really benefit you and how to make flavored water. And, find out how to answer kids' toughest smoking questions.

For more recipes and cancer prevention tips, follow us on Twitter and join our conversations on Facebook.

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