Friday, March 26, 2010

What to do - 5 of 5 - Promote Enjoyable Activity

When I wrote my original letter about the dangers of establishing a month to make children more aware of being fat, I knew that I wasn't alone. Many others, in a variety of health professions, have expressed similar concerns in different ways. Today, there is more evidence about how just how far the concerns have risen.

In the opinion section of today's New York Times, the Room for Debate section 'weighs in' on the topic with Better Ways to Help the Public Lose Weight. The distinguished commentators speak from different perspectives and different recommendations. There is, however, a common theme: There are many ways to approach public health concerns about weight more respectfully and more effectively. Check it out - and leave your own comment. Every voice counts!

This week, I have been offering answers to the question What can we do? Thus far, my suggestions have all been of the sedentary, sit-at-your-computer-and-let people-know-what-you-think-variety. For my final idea - promote enjoyable activity - I suggest that you get out of chair and go out into your community. So far, I've focused on thinking globally, this is all about acting locally.

Children of all weights, shapes, and sizes need adult role models to help them get into a daily pattern of enjoyable physical activity. Here are three simple ways to be an active role model at your local school (with many more to come in future posts):
  • Walk your children (or grandchildren) to school. Start a walking school bus so that neighborhood kids can join in the fun.
  • Organize a before or after school walking program on the playground (or indoors). Get the PTA/PTO on board and start with just a day or two a week. (To pick up the pace, let the kids choose some music.)
  • Volunteer to help with active recess. Schools need all the community volunteers they can get in today's budget landscape. Get kids having fun with old-fashioned or new-fangled games.

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