Let's get moving
September 30 marks the last day of National Childhood Obesity Month. An estimated 23 million American children and teenagers are overweight or obese. That's roughly equivalent to the populations of the 8 biggest cities in the country!
Many factors go into this issue. Today's kids are super-wired. Playstations, iPods, DirecTV, all emphasize a sedentary culture. School districts tighten their belts and cut PE class, and for some students, that's only physical activity they get. Sugary cereals like Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms have colorful, crazy spokescharacters designed to draw kids in, while healthier options like Cheerios and Chex offer little pizzazz. Overweight or obese children are at risk for very adult conditions, like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke.
There is some good work being done. Michelle Obama launched the Let's Move campaign, a federal initiative to draw attention and promote solutions like movement and healthy eating. Across the country, schools have banned the sale of soda in cafeterias, including a district-wide ban in Los Angeles county, the 2nd largest district in America. Fast food restaurants are getting into act, offering healthier sides and drinks, like milk and apples and carrot sticks. And the NFL encourages its young fans to get moving through the Play60 program, which asks kids to engage in physical activity for 60 minutes a day.
But more can and should be done. How do you encourage the kids in your life to get moving?