The NFL has come to town here in Miami for the Pro Bowl and Superbowl, and community events emphasizing physical activity are in the spotlight. Yesterday, I was involved as a volunteer at a playground build at a local charter school. The project was sponsored by Bank of America, the non-profit playground organization Kaboom, and the NFL Play 60 Community Blitz. The photo (above) is a portion of a playground wall mural that I helped to paint. (Those big, tall NFL Pro Bowl players eventually painted the top)
True to its name, the NFL Play 60 program challenges children to exercise and play for at least 60 minutes per day. It also encourages parents to provide nutritious meals for their kids. Childhood obesity rates are increasing in the United States, and it is quickly becoming a primary public health concern; for childhood obesity increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 Diabetes, and a number of other infirmities (CDC, 2010).
The great news is that there are simple things that parents can do to help their children:
1. Turn off the screens. (TV's, video games, hand-held games, etc.)
2. Go outside. Whether it is a park, a playground, the beach, or your own backyard...just get out there!
3. Play with your kids. Don't worry! You don't have to be a Pro-Bowler to play a game of catch with your kids.
Click here for a list of more ideas to help your children spend their 60 minutes of playtime.
CDC, 2010. Retrieved on January 29, 2010 at http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/consequences.html