The verbal alarm about out-of-shape children was sounded a few weeks ago by Surgeon General David Satcher and it has the familiar ring of a recess bell waiting to be answered.
"Go out and play!" was the short and sweet version of the surgeon general's advice. The specifics amounted to a brutal indictment of the way we are raising this generation of youngsters.
"This is the most overweight, obese generation of children in our history, Satcher said. "The message this week is about saving lives."
To support his contention that today's inactive young people could fall prey to heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses, Satcher points out the following:
-- Studies show U.S. children watch an average of 1,000 hours of television each year or about three hours every day.
-- One in 15 school-age children is overweight.
There is considerable feeling that TV, with its attractions that include multiple channels, DVD movies and video games, is the primary culprit. While TV is likely to be a part of the American home for some time to come, parents can still set healthy examples and nudge children into fun, physical activities such as biking, hiking, volleyball and swimming. Youth participation in team sports can also pry them away from the enticements of television.
Most young people love to run and be active but they need encouragement and that's where parents come in. Mom and Dad have to set down the television remote, get off the couch and demonstrate how exercise is a vital component in a healthy, active lifestyle.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.