The SPARK Foundation, along with many other non-profits, such as Let’s Move! Active Schools, are all dedicated to creating, implementing, and evaluating research-based programs that promote lifelong wellness. The resources and research on their sites are both enlightening and sobering, especially in regards to the rising rates of childhood obesity.
We all know the basic formula for health: Good Food + Regular Active Play + Loving Support. Sounds simple, right? Healthy kids are happier, better learners. Yet, one third of our children are overweight or obese with rates still climbing! Clearly, it is time for everyone to take this issue personally and look at how to upgrade their nutrition and exercise habits, policies and programs.
Why? Because the research shows definitively that kids who get regular physical activity and a healthy breakfast improve not just in their fitness levels but in brain function, too. Charles Hillman, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Illinois, writes: “Simply put, physical activity helps kids learn better. There’s nothing magical going on. Physical activity causes changes in the brain. As a result, we see changes in behavior.” The studies also find that physical activity can be incorporated anywhere, anytime at school with positive academic results. It’s not just about PE but having movement through-out the day that supports well-being and doing.
Speaking of school, a recent survey, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente and shared at the June Conference on Obesity in Long Beach, CA, shows that 90% of American believe that schools should take a role in preventing obesity. What’s significant about this statistic is that it proves that people no longer consider weight/health a personal issue, but one in which we must all work together.
If you agree that it is time to take to heart the health campaigns and research of programs such as the Let’s Move Foundation, Partnership for a Healthier Generation, Obesity Prevention and Nutrition Network to name but a few, here are some simple steps you can take:
Choose to eat color at every meal
Shop at the local Farmer’s Market
Take processed foods out of your diet
Write a list of ways you like to move /exercise – such as biking, dance class, exercise videos, playing with kids at the park, hiking, yoga, etc. – plan time in every other day
Commit to exercise time and insist your family do so as well
Write a list of ways you can exercise more within your daily life – such as walking to the store (not driving) or using the stairs (not the elevator) – and do them
Throughout the day, pause, breathe, self-reflect and take 1-2 minutes to drink water to stay hydrated, and to use a mindfulness exercise to center and ground yourself. When you regularly de-stress and take simple actions to sustain your well-being, you maintain a healthy mind-body state – one that can think clearly and make healthy eating and behavior choices.
Here at Move with Me , our small group of mom/educators have been working on ways to help you upgrade. Our goal is to make our movement and mindfulness enrichment classes affordable and accessible to you for your children. What has evolved is our Movement & Mindfulness bundle designed to take your home or classroom to the next level of fun, fitness and embodied social-emotional learning. The 9 yoga/movement story video classes, parent / teacher guide, and 13 health and self-regulation flash cards make it easy to ensure your kids get healthy, active playtime that supports them in being physical fit, emotionally stable and learning able.