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Parents may need to motivate their children to get off the couch

The Department of Health and Human Services now recommends an hour of moderate exercise each day, and another hour of vigorous exercise three times a week. These guidelines are intended for kids as well as adults. But some kids may need a little motivation from their parents to get off the couch. Sara Sitron, a 17-year-old, said, "I ate my lunch that I brought to school with me in second period, so I ended up buying like cookies at lunch." She spent her evenings on the couch, watching TV. Linda, Sara’s mother, said, "I started saying, 'You know Sara, maybe you shouldn't be eating that ice cream, it looks like you've gained a little weight,' or 'Can you get off the couch and go exercise?’” Sara said, "It just annoyed me, and it didn't make me want to go work out." But then, Linda Citron stopped nagging and decided to focus on health, not weight. "No, we do not focus on the scale or number on the scale, we focus on feeling good," said Linda. Linda brought Sara to the grocery store, and let her choose which healthy foods the family would eat. “Cause sometimes she would make a healthy dinner that I didn't like, so when I got to go with her, I got to say, 'Oh that looks really good,'" added Sara. Sara did not work out, until her mom arranged a class at the gym, for all Sara's friends. "The number one thing that I recommend is to get a group of friends together and do more of a group-setting class," said personal trainer, Sara Price. Byron C. Cotton, MD, from the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, said, "Adults can go and run on the treadmill three days a week and they are fine. But with kids you have to make it fun." Sara has since lost seven pounds. She makes smarter food choices, most of the time. "Be good six days a week; choose one day to be bad. On that one day that you like to be bad, choose whatever it is that you really have a taste for," said Cotton. Linda said, "It's just a world of difference, she has so much more energy, she feels great about herself."

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