Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Play for Life

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Play for Life

Article excerpt

Sedentary lifestyles threaten the health of millions of Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over one-third (34.9 percent or 78.6 million) of adults are obese, with obesity-related conditions including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer directly associated with obesity (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html). As alarming as these facts are, even more serious is what is happening to today's youth. Approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents (or 12.7 million) between 2 and 19 years are obese (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html).

Children today are increasingly inactive. Thousands of school physical education classes have been eliminated in the wake of an emphasis on achievement standards and tests. Additionally, unsafe or non-existent play spaces in lower socio-economic neighborhoods along with nearly 50 percent of school-aged children living in single-parent homes or with dual-career parents (http://futureofchildren. org/futureofchildren/publications/docs/2l_02_04.pdf) have led to latch-key lifestyles and nearly eliminated free play.

Several initiatives have called attention to how the lack of physical activity has contributed to the obesity crisis in youth. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education developed "Let's Move in School," an initiative that joined with First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move." Today "Let's Move! Active Schools" advocates for 60 minutes of daily physical activity for students in K-12 schools (http://www.letsmoveschools.org/). The National Football League promotes children being active 60 minutes a day through NFL Play 60 (http://www.nflrush.com/play60). "Exercise Is Medicine" is a global health initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine that encourages physicians and other health care providers to include physical activity when recommending treatment plans for patients of all ages (http.//wwwexerciseismedicine.org/suppor_page.php?p=15). Using the endowment of funds from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, the LA84 Foundation awards grants to youth sport organizations in California as well as conducts youth sport and coaching education programs that have become national models (http://www. …

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