Politics (as well as fashion) come about a year late for me. Yesterday I discovered the most exciting action American government has taken in recent history. Right now, Michelle Obama is taking the steps to get our country back into shape, literally! Her new movement "Let's Move!" makes efforts to give childhood obesity a big sucker punch to the jaw. To explain, let's first face the facts:
- Roughly one third of all children in America right now are obese.
- One third of all children born after 2000 will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives.
- Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, asthma, adult obesity, low self esteem, etc!
- 8 to 18 year olds spend on average 7+ hours a day with video games, computers, internet, television, movies, and phones.
- Many children "snack" before, after, or in between meals. These snacks often include chips, cookies, candy, sodas, and fast food. What happened to nuts and fruit?
So what can we do? The Let's Move website offers many suggestions to creating a healthy lifestyle. Eating right is a no-brainer, and the website provides everything you need to know about healthy meals and snacks, along with explaining how the newest food pyramid works. I learned that kids need at least one hour of vigorous activity a day. I thought this was a low minimum, but was surprised to find out that many parents think this is a lot. You know that hour of T.V. time after dinner? How about a bike ride instead. Exercise and active play can be anything: dance lessons, skateboarding, playing frisbee with the dog... you name it. Just get out there. Having an active childhood can decrease the risk of obesity, and promote joint, bone, and muscle health.
I discovered my holy grail when I stumbled upon the Let's Move Outside! webpage. There's a "Where to go" option that will lead you to local outdoor events, forests and parks, and even local playgrounds. What a resource! The other hompage option is "What to do" where you can locate hiking trails, bike-friendly trails and streets, paddling routes, good fishing spots, the list goes on! Between the Let's Move! movement's website and the National Wildlife Federation site, I am blown away by how many resources there are available to the American public. That's why these two sites are the first to make it to my links list.
Democrat, Republican... who cares? This is the boost America needs in the right direction. Michelle Obama is making efforts to promote fun exercise in P.E. classes around the nation, as well as encouraging communities to get their residents active in parks, playgrounds, and recreation centers. Kids need to play, and it's up to you to get your family up and moving. No more excuses. Take the Let's Move! challenge and turn our kid's lives around today.
And as always, never stop moving.