Describe the problem of physical inactivity and obesity in today's youth.
Explain the influence of growth and development on physiological functions.
Describe the differences in the metabolic and cardiorespiratory responses to exercise between children and adults.
Describe the neuromuscular adaptations to resistance training in children and adolescents.
Identify the health- and fitness-related benefits of regular physical activity in youth.
Describe program design considerations for children and adolescents.
List age-appropriate strategies to promote physical activity in youth with different needs, goals, and abilities.
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Jennifer is a group fitness instructor who specializes in working with children. In the after-school program she runs at a local recreation center, Jennifer leads children of all ages and physical capabilities through group exercise routines, small-group personal training, and noncompetitive games that foster teamwork and involve aerobic activity. During enrollment, Jennifer meets Mr. and Mrs. Greenberg, the parents of an obese 12-year-old boy named Jacob. They have been reading a lot about the long-term risks of childhood obesity and are eager to enlist Jennifer's help in getting their child on track to a healthier lifestyle.
The first thing Jennifer does is conduct an interview with Jacob's parents, during which she learns that Mr. and Mrs. Greenberg have been trying to address his lack of physical activity at home by having Jacob complete 30 minutes of walking on the treadmill every day after school. He has been complaining that this is "boring," and his behavior has been adversely affected by the constant arguing about exercise.
What should Jennifer do to help Jacob and his parents address the important issue of Jacob's long-term health and well-being?
Jennifer establishes two primary goals for the first few weeks of Jacob's participation in her after-school program. The first is to develop a program that increases Jacob's confidence in his ability to be physically active. The second- and this should be the ultimate objective of any health and fitness professional working with children-is to help establish a pattern of fun and effective physical activity that will spark a lifelong interest in exercise.
It is clear to Jennifer that Jacob's parents, although they certainly have the best intentions, do not understand how children typically perform physical activity. Walking for 30 consecutive minutes is simply not something most children enjoy. In addition, because most of the games that the children play during her group sessions involve walking or running, Jennifer decides to modify games and activities during small-group personal training to enhance motor skill proficiency while having fun. After a few weeks of replacing his treadmill walking with age-appropriate games and skill-building activities, Jacob has enhanced his activity level and seems to enjoy playing with his friends....