Make ‘Breathe. Stretch. Play.’ a part of every day!

How Yoga Enhances a Child’s Wellbeing

While doing research on wellness and yoga, I stumbled upon some interesting statistics on major health issues that are affecting children today.


Did you know that between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese? Obesity is among the easiest medical conditions to recognize but most difficult to treat. Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year. Obese children are most likely to grow up as obese youth and as a result more prone to joint problems, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, poor self esteem, and several other health, social, and psychological problems.


Obesity is now among the most widespread medical problems affecting children and adolescents living in the United States and other developed countries. About 15% of adolescents (aged 12-19 years) and children (aged 6-11 years) are obese.

  • Of these diagnosed, 85% of all the children have type 2 Diabetes.
  • Children treated for obesity are about 3x more expensive for the health care system than children with normal weight.


Adults are stressed but kids are also stressed and stress can come in many forms for children and teens. Yoga helps children deal with stressors in their lives by giving them an outlet for their emotions through breath and movement. Over programming with after school and school activities, stimulation from TV and technology, being bullied in school, friends and family are often reported as the “stressor points” for children today and can cause anxiety. Stress can be the cause of many other aliments to the body, mind and emotions. The body reacts to stressful situations by producing adrenaline, which is designed to help us with the fight or flight instinct. The problem is, when this chemical is released into the body long term, on a regular basis, it can cause long-term problems in people. Some of the effects of childhood stress are headaches, sleep disorder, eating too much of too little. Other possible sign of stress is jumpiness, nervousness and poor concentration.


Stress leads to ‘Anxiety Disorders’ and they affect one in eight children. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.


Anxiety disorders also often co-occur with other disorders such as depression, eating disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

It is estimated that one in every 110 children is diagnosed with some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. An estimated 1.5 million individuals in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide are affected by autism. Government statistics suggest the prevalence rate of autism is increasing 10-17 percent annually.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is another challenge kids face today. In a classroom of 30 students there are 1 to 3 children with ADHD. And various studies show that between 3% and 7% of school aged children have ADHD. These days, ADHD is a common behavioral disorder that affects an estimated 8% to 10% of school-age children. Kids with ADHD act without thinking, are hyperactive, and have trouble focusing. They may understand what’s expected of them but have trouble following through because they can’t sit still, pay attention, or attend to details. Boys are about three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with it. The number of children 3-17 years of age that have been diagnosed with ADHD is over  5.2 million.


Through the research I also found a glimmer of hope and some great statistics. In Boston a group of adolescents in secondary school did a research program to study the mental health benefits of yoga. And the study showed that yoga has the potential of playing preventive role in maintaining health in children. {Here is the abstract.}


And according to the Mayo Clinic, “Yoga can be a gentle method for your child to get more physical activity and enhance their wellbeing.


Yoga can calm children, reduce obesity, enhance concentration and help children manage certain health conditions, such as headaches and irritable bowel syndrome. Studies suggest that yoga may also benefit children who have various mental and physical disabilities. Yoga may even help children who have eating disorders lessen their preoccupation with food.”


Most children need at least an hour of physical activity every day because regular exercise can help children:

  • Feel less stressed
  • Feel better about themselves
  • Feel better prepared and focused to learn in school
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Build and keep bones, muscles and joints healthy
  • Sleep better at night


Yoga is a wonderful mind/body movement and breathing practice tool that offers children the discipline to create:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Coping strategies
  • Healthy responses to the unavoidable stresses in their lives
  • Positive tools to find center
  • Accept, and express their feelings appropriately


Yoga can help to combat these staggering statistics on major health issues that are affecting children today and offer tools and skills to be well.


Breathe. Stretch. Play. Make NAMASTE a part of every day!

Love, Super Stretch