Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Keeping Kids Moving

Photo: Quiltro Element

According to Transportation for America "32 percent of american children between the ages of 10 and 17 are overweight or obese, and many are at risk for more serious conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke".

When I was a kid I played outside all the time. Everyday after school I would come home, scarf down a snack and ride my bicycle almost a mile to play basketball with the neighborhood kids until dark.   I did this five days a week, almost all year long.  All the kids in my neighborhood came together and played instead of socializing on the computer or playing video games with each other over a network.

Childhood obesity and poor health is a growing epidemic in this country. I don't think it is enough just to teach our kids about exercise.  We have to teach them exercise through the practice of living.  

Instead of driving two to five miles to the grocery store or book store, try walking or riding your bicycle there.  If possible, bike to school, bike to the park.  Kids love it because it's adventurous and it gives them a sense of independence if they are riding their own bike.  

I'll be the first to admit, the streets of Winston-Salem are not the most bike-friendly streets. They certainly need improvements to accommodate alternative forms of transportation such as bicycles so that everyone feels safe on the road, not just experienced cyclists.  

Transportation of America states that "The shape and structure of streets, sidewalks and the ability to safely use them has an enormous impact on whether children become overwieght or obese". 

Think about that for a moment.  By creating streets that are more livable, we can have happier, healthier kids. So be active in letting the city know that you want more livable streets and in the meantime spend time with your kids by going places either by walking or riding a bicycle.

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