Playing outdoors is one of the best things you can do as a dad for the health of your children.

Apart from just being fair, there is now evidence that fathers who share the enormous load of parenting also help their children become fitter and healthier. Beyond lending a hand with the cooking and cleaning, dads’ participation in active caregiving is linked to a decreased risks of the child becoming obese between two and four years of age.

Researchers following the health outcomes of thousands of US kids have found the healthiest toddlers came from households where dads were physically involved in childcare.

Importantly, there was a strong relationship between the health of the toddlers and the frequency with which fathers took their little ones outside to play.

And you never know – getting active with the kids might pay dividends for dad’s fitness too!

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Professor David Cameron-Smith is a regular Fit Planet contributor. A transplanted Australian living in New Zealand, he obtained a PhD in nutritional biochemistry from Deakin University, and undertook postdoctoral training at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. His research interests include the importance of nutrition in the maintenance of optimal health in an ageing population, and the impact of nutrition in regulating the function of muscles.

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