Helping Kids be Physically Active
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with the sports and recreation community to talk about how we can work together to help kids be more physically active. Everyone has a role to play in reducing childhood obesity and members of the sports and recreation community, including sports leagues, governing bodies, equipment and manufacturing companies, athletes and non-profit organizations serving children, are uniquely positioned to help children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. I challenged these leaders to imagine a Nation where all children have an opportunity to play and be physically active. What would we see? What would we hear? I know I would hear laughter. I know I would see smiles. I know that there would be real connections among kids. They would also be healthier and more likely to perform well in school. To make this vision a reality we need to reduce the barriers to play spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities. Unfortunately, today, too few children have safe places to play after school and on the weekends. We need to work together to build or revitalize playgrounds and provide safe transportation to play spaces and parks. We need to provide more support to after-school and weekend programs in the form of new programming, equipment and instructors. At the meeting we talked about ways we can work together to make this vision come true. I heard so many good ideas about what everyone can do. While organizations are now working on their actual proposals – and I don’t want to steal any of their thunder – there was a lot of collaboration between sports leagues and outdoor organizations, retailers and after school programs, etc. And everyone wanted to figure out how they could help the Let’s Move Cities and Towns at a local level. By working together we can create a generation of children that makes physical activity a part of their lifestyle. Together we can reduce the barriers to physical activity and inspire kids to be active.