Summer can be a time of weight gain for children.
With the approach of the Summer break and May being National Physical Fitness and Sports month, it seem like a good time to discuss the issue of inactivity and weight gain for our students.
A recent article in Ed Week touted that Summers are becoming bad for children’s health as sandlot baseball, bike riding, and general running around with friends gives way to hours of screen time and the snacking that goes with it, according to a new survey of parents.
The joint survey by the YMCA of the USA and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight found that even though most parents say it’s important for their children to eat healthy food, exercise, and limit their computer and TV time, more than 70 percent don’t know the national standards for what should go on their kids’ plates and how much physical activity is recommended.
“There’s a difference between having awareness of a problem and having awareness of the solution,” Dr. Matt Longjohn, the National Health Officer of the YMCA, told Education Week.
The online survey sampled nearly 1,200 randomly selected parents with children ages 5 to 12, and was weighted for gender, age, ethnicity, race, and region.
An overwhelming 91 percent of black and Latino parents reported that the availability of physical fitness programs was very or extremely important in selecting organized summer activities for their children, compared to 86 percent of white parents. However, only 35 percent of black and Latino parents, compared to 54 percent of white parents, said their children participated in sports, exercise or other types of physical activity for an hour or more a day—the standard used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What is also known is that students in structured activities or Summer Camp will be more active and snack less than children at home being watched by a sibling, relative or other adult. As well as helping to prevent weight gain and obesity student physical activity also helps to improve focus, concentration and learning.
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a great time to spread the word about the benefits of getting active. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly eighty percent of adults and seventy-five percent of adolescents do not get the daily recommended amount of physical activity. Use these resources to help get students, staff, and parents off to a healthy start for spring.
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month Toolkit
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month Toolkit (2)
Activity Ideas for Increasing Physical Activity During the School Day
Tips for Increasing Physical Activity
Tips from the American Heart Association for Increasing Physical Activity
Tips for Parents to Add More Activity to Their Child’s Day
Just as you might track the number of books read, hours spent reading, or time spent on other academic pursuits, why not challenge students (or families) to track their physical activity, and increase their numbers each week over the course of the month?
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