Welcome to today’s Healthy SW Florida Children blog. This site is dedicated to promoting children’s health in the SW Florida area.
Unless you have been living in a cave for the last 20 years, you have heard about the obesity epidemic among U.S. children.
There are many worthwhile programs in the SW Florida community that promote healthy eating habits and increased exercise for our youngest residents. I came across an interesting article last week that focused on how the design of schools can affect children’s health in general and obesity rates in particular.
‘Many schools were planned without thought given to how students can safely walk or ride their bikes to school. Playgrounds have been cut from budgets. An overemphasis on competitive sports has created a disproportionate amount of funding going to a select group of high profile sports, while minimizing the opportunities for the majority of students who desperately need exercise.’ Joel K. Sims, AIA, “Designing Schools To Fight Childhood Obesity,” School Designer, May 2007, http://www.schooldesigner.com/Articles/Designing-Schools-to-Fight-Childhood-Obesity-Part-1.asp, accessed on May 16, 2011
Here are some suggestions for making schools fitness-friendly:
- Incorporate features of professional health clubs
- Partner with community fitness centers to create multi-use facilities
- Combine electronic entertainment and exercise
- Incorporate movement into lesson plans
As we plan for new and renovated SW Florida schools, let’s take our children’s fitness into consideration. As SW Florida parents and educators, we can also promote lesson plans that incorporate movement. I also believe we need to look at how our tax dollars are spent. Do competitive sports programs in Florida receive more than their fair share of available funds? Could we better use this money to provide exercise opportunities for all SW Florida children?
I encourage you to raise awareness of these issues in your Florida city. The only thing that will spur change is if parents, educators, and government leaders work together to lower the obesity rates in our Florida communities.