To the editor:
School vacations, backyard barbecues and lazy days - all signs of summer. However, summer is also a great time for children to be active. An estimated one in three children are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical inactivity has been linked to an increased risk of obesity- related illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain cancers. Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, usually thought of as adult disease, are now showing up in youth.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Physical Activity Guidelines for children recommend one hour or more of physical activity every day. This hour of active play can be broken up into smaller segments for families who have a busier schedule, but the key is to find an activity that kids will enjoy doing. Some kids may love to bike around their neighborhoods with their friends; others may enjoy swimming, extreme Frisbee or just going to their local park to play on the equipment.
We all have a role helping our kids grow to be healthy, strong adults. Several of the area's recreation departments feature summer activities that kids can get involved with for free, or a small fee. Access to this information can be found by going through your town's website or the town hall. Parents are an important influence on kids in staying active by modeling appropriate behavior. Going out and playing soccer or staying active with our kids is a great start to lasting memories and healthier bodies for children and adults alike.
Senior public health educator
Healthy Schools NY
Clinton County Health Department