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How Children Can Stay Safe and Active This Summer

Staying Active This Summer

Staying Active This Summer

A sedentary or low physically active lifestyle can increase risks for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, and some cancers. The risks for these chronic diseases increase significantly if poor physical activity behaviors begin in childhood. More sedentary children are at an increased risk of experiencing poor self-esteem, sleep disturbance, depression, and anxiety. With the summer approaching and school out, participating in sports or attending a camp over the summer may be a way to encourage safe activity. 

Physically active children tend to maintain better fitness and mental health throughout their lifetime. The recommendation is for children to have physical activity for 60 minutes or more per day of moderate to vigorous intensity. The company 1000 Hours Outside has stated the average American child watches 1200 hours of television per year. Their company aims to balance out screen-time with time spent in nature and to be active. 

Whether your children are participating in organized sports or heading off to camp this summer, a pre-participation physical exam is recommended as a routine exam for any child and adolescent. The goal during this exam would be to identify any medical conditions that would make sports participation unsafe or increase risks for injury. Some medical conditions screened for may include cardiovascular illnesses, infections, skin diseases, respiratory conditions like asthma, endocrine disorders, and connective tissue disorders. 

sports or camp physical exam visit can be added to an annual well-child visit but should not substitute for a yearly visit. Ideally, the pre-participation sports exam should be completed at least 3-6 weeks before the first sports practice or before beginning summer camp.

Parents can also go to their local parks and recreation department to find alternative activities for children to maintain an active lifestyle over the summer. Here in Chandler, you can find a list of summer camps within the Chandler Recreation Program site.  


1.  Kerr J, Anderson C, Lippman SM. Physical activity, sedentary behaviour, diet, and cancer: an update and emerging new evidence. Lancet Oncol. 2017 Aug;18(8):e457-e471. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30411-4. Epub 2017 Jul 26. PMID: 28759385

2.  Connolly S, Carlin A, Johnston A, et al. Physical Activity, Sport and Physical Education in Northern Ireland School Children: A Cross-Sectional Study. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2020;17(18). doi:10.3390/ijerph17186849

3.  Current Diagnosis and Treatment in Sports Medicine Patrick J McMahon

4.  UpToDate

Dr. Nichole Shiffler

Dr. Nichole Shiffler

Dr. Nichole Shiffler 404 is a naturopathic primary care physician and medical director of Be Well Medical Primary Care. Dr. Shiffler focuses her practice in women's and pediatric medicine. Dr. Shiffler also has an extensive history of treating irregular menstrual cycles, thyroid disease, menopause, acne, PCOS, and diabetes. She utilizes nutrition and herbal medicine to deliver an effective treatment plan to her patients. Dr. Shiffler is available for patient care at Be Well Medical Primary Care. Call (480) 219-9900 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Shiffler.


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