Bring the kids to 5K

Published 9:36 pm Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The high rate of childhood obesity in this country is a well-documented health crisis that experts predict will have serious long-term consequences on our nation’s health. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported a significant decline in obesity among 2- to 5-year-olds, about 17 percent of our nation’s children are still considered obese, a rate that is virtually unchanged in the last 10 years.

The CDC lists many factors considered responsible for high childhood obesity rates. Among them are the increasing promotion and consumption of less healthy foods and sugary drinks, limited access to healthy, affordable foods and increasing portion sizes.

The non-food-related culprits include an exorbitant amount of time spent using entertainment media, with children ages 8 to 18 spending an average of 7.5 hours per day watching television and playing computer or video games.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

Another reason is a lack of daily, quality physical activity in all schools. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended at least 60 minutes of aerobic activity each day. Attending daily physical education classes would help many children achieve a healthy level of activity, yet in 2009 only 33 percent of students in grades 9-12 attended daily classes.

Fortunately, opportunities for children and teens to get moving outside of school are increasing in our area.

An example coming up soon is a Burbage Grant neighborhood 5K, which will include a child-friendly 2K option. Organized running is an excellent way for both adults and children to set attainable goals, train and see measurable improvement. A bonus is that many organized races, including the Burbage Grant event on May 3, benefit local charities.

Many fitness events have been adding options for children or even developing entirely separate events and programs with children in mind. But it takes good parents to ensure their children are able to take advantage of them.

Bring your children out to the Burbage Grant run on May 3 and start a new family tradition of exercising. Visit www.burbagegrant.org to find more information.