Can Music Programs Prevent Childhood Obesity?
According to the U.S. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, child obesity raised from 6.5% to 19.6% between 1980 and 2008. This is a startling jump which reflects the cultural changes that are happening all around the world. As modern technology becomes more and more advanced, greater conveniences are being introduced to communities around the world. Families are becoming more sedentary as a result of all this convenience.
This is a problem seen around the world, but it isn’t something that cannot be turned around. Parents concerned with raising healthy, active children are now looking for creative ways to get their children away from the video games and computers and tuned into physical activity. Just going out for a walk doesn’t cut it for most children today. They need something more entertaining.
One option that parents can grab onto is music lessons. There are music programs for children as young as two or three-years-old, running up to the age of seven and beyond. These programs get children out of the house and allow them to learn new skills that will benefit them throughout their life. Even more important, these lessons encourage children to get into music and move their bodies.
Dancing is actually a great cardiovascular exercise that burns a lot of calories and gets the heart rate up high. Children who invest in music lessons start to dance and move around without even realizing they are doing something very healthy for their bodies. Even those who take dance lessons benefit from taking musical lessons as well. They establish a deeper appreciation for the music they are moving their bodies to in dance lessons when they experience the music from the creation side.
As children grow older, they will develop their own preferences for different styles of music, but the experiences of dancing and appreciating music in their younger years may stick with them. They may enjoy dancing around their bedroom or going out for walks with their music. They learn to relax and express themselves through music in those younger years, so music becomes a tool for healthy mind and body in later years.
Parents can back up the music lessons by turning on the music at home and encouraging dance. If children experience their parents dancing and moving around the home, they will pick up those healthy habits as well. This is a subtle, fun way for parents to encourage physical activity for their children from a very early age.
The catch here is that music should be introduced as early in life as possible. Older children can still be exposed to music and will learn to use it as a healthy tool, but those who are exposed at a younger age grow up feeling like music is just natural. They may feel more comfortable moving their bodies and dancing because they have been doing it since they were too little to be self-conscious.
Music is probably not the sole cure for the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, but it is one valuable tool that parents can embrace and use to the benefit of their children. Dancing is fun and music is interactive, so children are naturally driven to move their bodies and burn off calories when they hear it. That makes it an excellent tool for parents concerned with raising healthy children.