We’ve heard it all before; children aren’t active enough, they’re watching too much television, they need to play outside more. Got it. But, do we really “got it?” I teach at a high school of 1,900 students and when I walk through the halls of school I am really overwhelmed by the amount of overweight and obese kids I see. I can’t help but think, if these kids are this big, what are THEIR children going to look like? Really, I can’t even imagine how bad it will get unless something seriously changes. There are campaigns going on everywhere, in the White House, at school, in the community: all trying to do SOMETHING to stop this overweight and obesity trend.
The National Institute on Media and the Family reports in their Children and Television Fact sheet that children spend 3-4 hours each day watching television, which is not including the amount of time on a computer. Another report from the National Institute on Media and the Family states that children and teens spend more time watching electronic screens than they spend doing any other activity other than sleeping. More than school, church, playing outside, more than ANYTHING other than sleeping.
Many of these reports are targeting the amount of activity children get, but what about us big kids? Once we grow up we’re not meant to become sedentary creatures! My challenge to you today is simple. It may take a lot of motivation and some extra effort, but it is simple: Go outside– if you’ve got kids or a spouse take them, too (and if it’s raining, take an umbrella!) Think back to your childhood, do you remember the time you spent playing catch or games with your parents or the “quality time” you spent with them in front of the television? Shut off the TV for one hour this evening, grab a ball and head outside. The campaign starts at home, your kids or spouse might moan and groan a little….but that’s okay, you’re making memories and working towards a healthy lifestyle.
(Let me know how you spent your hour outside!)