America Receives a D- for Overall Physical Activity in Youth
This was the tragic subject line on an email I received this morning from the American College of Sports Medicine, the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world that advances and integrates scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. In other words, it’s one of the most dependable sources of information we can rely on when it comes to matters regarding the state of affairs of the health of our country as a whole (or lack thereof, unfortunately). The National Activity Plan shares on their site a report card whose primary goal is “ is to assess levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviors in American children and youth, facilitators and barriers for physical activity, and related health outcomes.” With factors including overall physical activity, sedentary behaviors, active transportation, organized sports participation, active play, community and government strategies determining the overall score, it’s clearly a model that factors in activity of any sort. And our country gets a collective D-. We’ve got to get our children moving, and it starts with getting ourselves moving first and foremost. If mom and dad are up early for a walk around the block, a workout at the gym or a yoga class, this is what the little ones will see as the norm and as such, will emulate it without so much as giving it a second thought. Similarly, if this behavior is non-existent and the norm includes a morning rush out the door with a packaged breakfast pastry and a juice box, these behaviors will become the standard. It may be easier said that done, and certainly, adopting new fitness and/or eating habits is an issue that many millions of Americans deal with on a daily basis. But it is passed the state of urgency and regardless of how difficult it might be to get up a little earlier to get in some motion, or simply find ways of being more active during the day with the kids whenever possible (even five minutes at time is a step in the right direction!), it’s absolutely got to be the priority. We have the huge opportunity to make positive changes in the form of preventing our kids from becoming overweight, then obese, then sick as well as all the emotional consequences that come along with these illnesses, so let’s do something about it! Whatever you can contribute, no matter how small, will help. Volunteer, donate, create change… Let’s do this! Click here for the full report.