Everyone is talking about health and fitness these days. Right? I mean, the government is doing everything they can in order to put a stop to this “Obesity” stuffaren’t they? The food industry and media are helping to curb the appeal of potentially damaging foods such as sugar, wheat, dairy and soy aren’t they?
If this is the case, why are grocery stores more full of crap and chips and chocolate and pop than ever before? Why have they basically cut physical activity out of the schools completely (except for Daily Physical Activity DPA)? Which by the way amounts to 20 minutes but is not enforced by many teachers.
If health and wellness are on everyone’s mind then why is the heart and stroke foundations still printing statistics like the ones below?
– Most recent Canadian Health Measures Survey found 95% of Canadian children and youth do not get the recommended amount of physical activity (min of 60 minutes/day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for ages 5-17).
– 31.5% of Canadian children and youth aged 5 to 17 years are overweight or obese, with 19.8% being overweight and 11.7% being obese.8 Childhood obesity frequently persists into adulthood, leading to increased morbidity and mortality, including cardiovascular disease.9
– It is estimated that only 22% of Canadian children receive physical education at school every day.10
– Physical education classes averaging 18 or more minutes a day can more than double the odds that an overweight or obese child becomes and remains physically active.13
The time for half measures is over. If something is going to be done about inactivity, unhealthy living and eating, it certainly isn’t going to come from the agencies mentioned above, or at least it doesn’t seem as though they have any intention of really putting an end to these type of stats.
As health and wellness professionals it is within us to drastically alter and ultimately improve the quality of life for people the world over something more readily achieved if targeting a younger age bracket.
Reaching parents is one thing, but what about the kids? What if every fitness facility had a designated time and program to get the kids active and teach them the importance of how to move and what to fuel their bodies with? What if this was made entertaining and fun? What if it allowed you to spend MORE time with your kids while teaching them these things and maybe learning a few things yourself?
Also on the Heart and Stroke website was a list of things parents, teachers and guardians could do with their kids. The list is below.
1. Help children to develop a genuine sense of enjoyment and long term appreciation for physical activity.
2. Act as role models for children and youth by participating in fun physical activities with them.
3. Help children and youth to meet the targets outlined in the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.5
4. Encourage schools to assist students in completing 60 minutes of physical activity per day through a variety of programs and activities (both structured and unstructured), including Quality Daily Physical Education24 programs.
5. Encourage schools and communities to work together to provide physical activity opportunities beyond school hours.
For those of you that have an influence on the health of the people around you, begin to think about what you can do in order to reach the younger generation. You can have classes or times dedicated solely for kids training, you can have parent/child training days or make up other games that get them active and excited about to borrow a phrase from Goodlife “living the goodlife”. If they aren’t learning this, they’ll be learning something else. It may as well be something that positively impacts the rest of their lives.
For us, we’ve created a game called Recess and now have just launched our Recess Camps to coincide. The game and camp are designed to make learning about healthy living, nutrition and physical activity exciting, interesting and fun. The game itself gets them moving and engrains healthy habits that will last them a lifetime. It also gives you the parents a chance to spend even more quality time with your kids.
In the end, what would be better than simply talking about health and fitness? How about actually making it a viable and entertaining option for EVERYONE – especially our youth TO DO?