Childhood inactivity has reached epidemic proportions, and is a huge factor to the rise of childhood obesity. I was born in 1957 and I remember how active I was as a child. During the summers I used to spend all day every day outside. There was no air conditioning inside, so no reason to be there. Plus all the neighborhood kids knew that if you stayed inside – Mom would put you to work! Yes, we had a T.V., but there was very little to interest us kids. I remember watching Saturday morning cartoons, but that was about it.
Childhood inactivity didn’t seem to exist in my world. In summer every day was filled with bike riding, jumping rope, playing hopscotch, playing with my dog, swimming, playing tag and hide and seek with the other neighborhood kids. Of course I also had chores; helping with the garden, yard and house-work. During the school year, I walked or rode my bike to school, had gym daily, plus played outside on the playground for recess three times a day. In the winter we built snow men and snow forts.
Compare this to the typical childhood activity my children had. I would say that although my children had a less active lifestyle than I did, they were still active. They spent a lot of time outdoors, and I took them to the pool almost every day during the summer. We definitely bought into the new Atari video craze of the day and had a VCR when they first came out, so our children spent time in front of the T.V., but they were also active.
Now that I am a grandmother, I see a radical emergence of childhood inactivity. Physical Education has been removed or reduced to an insignificant level from the schools. Children seem to spend a huge amount of their time watching T.V., playing video games, and sitting at school. Even when they are taken outside they often don’t seem to know how to play in an active way – unless they are guided by adults. The repercussions of this are huge according to K12 Academics.
“The percentage of children who are obese has tripled in the last 30 years, and it is estimated that 9 million children between the ages of 6 and 19 years are considered to be overweight. Data suggests that 15% of all children ages 2 to 11 years are considered obese.”
- Since 1960 obesity has increased 55% in elementary school children and 39% in high school students.
- 25% of all school aged children are obese; there is a high likelihood that they will remain obese into adulthood.
- 30% of all school aged children are at risk for heart disease and premature death as adults
We live in a different time than when I was a child. Parents are busy, and it isn’t safe to let kids roam as I did when I was a child. Nowadays it takes a very conscious effort to get physical activity for our children. The importance though is critical. For the health of your family I urge you to start making changes today. Turn off the Computers, Video Games and T.V. for a little while. Take a walk with your children, take them outside to play – and if they don’t seem to know what to do, play a game with them, or get a ball to kick around. You’ll be creating memories and helping reduce childhood inactivity, creating a healthier future.
Renee from ForeverFitLife.com