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It's time to get your kids moving!

According to The Partnership for a Healthier America, the childhood obesity rate has more than tripled over the past 40 years. From 4.2 percent to 17.4 percent of our children (ages 6-19) suffer from the health condition of childhood obesity.

I am seeing a trend of less physical activity and more sedentary activity even from my own kids as they get older. I am a mom of five, with four kids at home right now, ages 11, 11, 15 and 17. The best advice I can give to get kids moving is to get them outside!

We love a great game of pitch and catch in the front yard. We go fishing, hiking or just exploring in our backyard. Our family enjoys going for walks in town, and we even enjoy exploring state parks in Missouri.

This summer, we explored the beautiful sights of Painted Rock State Park and Rock Bridge State Park. My 11 year old was studying geologic formations, and we saw plenty on our hike.

Another way our kids enjoy the outdoors is riding their bikes and playing on a baseball team in the summer. My oldest son, Austin, missed out on his junior year of high school baseball, but is now able to play competitively for the Central Missouri Phenom.

Healthy eating is also important for us and our kids.

If your kids see you snacking on fruits and veggies, they are more likely to follow suit. We now have a small garden, where the kids get to help with watering and weeding more getting outside! My youngest son, Lane, can be seen munching on the fresh strawberries or cherry tomatoes. We are also patiently waiting on cucumbers, watermelon and cantaloupe.

So get out and enjoy this amazing Missouri scenery we have been blessed with, and keep your kids moving!

Karla Bridges has been a physical therapist for 20 years, working at Capital Region Medical Center for 14 of those years. Most recently, she spent 10 years as an inpatient physical therapist on acute and inpatient rehabilitation. She lives in Linn with her husband, Justin, and their four children, Austin, Faith, Lane and Colton.

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