Really? Should it take the First Lady to tell us that we need to get our kids moving? That we need to eat fresh fruits and veggies? We have known that we are a nation, if not a state, have been in crisis for years. We have current laws here in the Commonwealth about physical activity, yet we still have a Mayor's Healthy Hometown Movement schools committee, we still have YMCA providing in school physical fitness opportunities at some of our schools (grant funded), we still have even more pending legislation, and we still have unhealthy kids. So where is the disconnect? I know that if my child eats unhealthy foods in front of a television and gets zero opportunities to run, swim, bike, or walk then chances are he/she will be either overweight, unhealthy, pre diabetic, pre, well, everything. And this will lead to problems in school (not energized enough to focus on learning, etc) as well as long term (burden on health care in furture). Businesses often have wellness campaigns, ie wear a pedometer, meet a certain goal, get a B&N gift card. But our schools don't. I know that part of the responsibility is solely on my shoulders. If I know there isn't quality physical activity at my child's school because there is not a nurse, not a daily pe instructor, or an adequate playspace (either green space or a playground) then I need to speak up and ask "WHY?" If I'm not satisfied with the answer I need to do something about it at the school, and if my child is lethargic it is my job to get him moving, whether we take a walk in the neighborhood or go swim or just do jumping jacks during commercial breaks. But when our children spend 6 1/2 hours a day at school, then our community needs to be proactive and get these kids moving!
I applaud the First Lady. I support KaBOOM! and other organizations dedicated to getting our children healthy. Eat healthy foods = go to a Farmer's Market, plan a menu together as a family, don't eat in front of the tv, ever, grown own food in backyard garden (hey, it's not the White House but next year I'll put up Joel's cabbages with those featured on Iron Chef). Let's Get Physical = YMCA membership (they offer great discounts), walking in neighborhood, swimming, jump rope, just running laps around the house when children get stir crazy! School = real commitment to physical activity at all age levels. Elementary kids need playgrounds, need full time practical living instructors, need funding so all schools have wii access, etc if that is what it takes. I don't sit still for 6 1/2 hours a day, our children shouldn't either. Don't ever take away recess in order to make a point to a child about "behavior" all kids need to MOVE! Field day is great, but it's only once a year, why isn't it Field Day once a month? For middle school, pe is an elective, our children can opt out! Same for High School. But if we don't get them moving now, in elementary, they will be less inclined to move later on.
I have been far from the best role model, I was an active YMCA member for years, then have taken a 4 year hiatus. But I'm back. I'm there 3x a week, listening to my ipod and moving. I do it because when I sign up my sons for soccer they know that I "walk the talk" about physical wellbeing. When I say no dessert tonight, I don't sneak in a bite of cookie or ice cream. No for them is no for me. If I ask them to try something new, so do I. The point is we have to start somewhere, we have to get our rears in gear. We've got to set the example even if it means giving up mocha lattes, and everyone knows that I love mocha lattes. Or hey, having it as a special treat, not everyday. So the next time we sign our kids up for baseball or soccer, let's make sure we run the laps with them. And when you tell them to eat their veggies, you'd better end up with spinach in your teeth too.
What we have:
Create a new section of KRS Chapter 156 to require the Kentucky Department of Education to identify and disseminate model resources for integrating physical activity during the school day; encourage schools to utilize certified physical education teachers in the development of physical activity plans; develop a reporting mechanism for schools containing grades K-5 to report physical activity, aggregate body mass index, and wellness program data; require the Department of Education to report no later than November 1 of each year to the Interim Joint Committee on Education and the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare; require the Department of Education to share data with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to assist in planning improvements in health services for children; amend KRS 160.345 to require that school council wellness policies provide for at least 30 minutes of structured moderate to vigorous physical activity, 150 minutes per week, or the equivalent per month; require school councils to report progress data; require that structured physical activity be considered part of the instructional day; prohibit exclusion from structured physical activity as a form of discipline; encourage schools with grades 6-8 to adopt similar policies; amend KRS 158.6453 to require inclusion of physical activity and wellness data in school report card; cite the Act as the Healthy Kids Act.
Where it's at: stuck at the starting gate....