Get in shape and keep it up: Spotlight in the first 3 years
Research shows that your body mass index (BMI) during your child’s first 3 years of life is more predictive of their future risk for overweight and obesity than their own BMI during those first 3 years. A child under 3 with one obese parent is 3 times as likely to become obese as an adult compared to a child under 3 with neither parent obese.1,2
Your child’s activity level will mirror your activity level. For moms and their children, research shows that correlation is high, at 73%.3 If you take more steps during the day, so will your child. This is true regardless of your child’s gender, and the correlation grows stronger with age.4
When you exercise during those first 3 years of your child’s life, you’re establishing a culture of movement in your home and family that has a good chance of lasting a lifetime for your child.5 The first 5 years of life are the most important years for instilling that culture of movement, and you’ll first see the effects when your child is 4.4,5
By the time your child is between the ages of 4 and 7, children with active moms are twice as likely to be physically active as children with inactive moms.4 As time goes on, an active child will turn into an active teenager, and an active teenager will turn into an active adult. It’s especially important to reinforce a culture of movement and activity in your little one during points of transition in their lives, including transitioning from elementary to middle school and during puberty.6
You have to set that positive example and weave movement into your family’s life throughout your little one’s childhood, and the most important time to set that in motion and weave exercise into the fabric of your life is when your child is between 0 and 3.