Kids and Healthy Living
Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.
I like to think that I have raised my 12 children in city that has their benefit in mind. I think a lot of parents look for decent school systems, clean air, and neighborhood parks. We look for proximity to libraries, community centers, access to public transportation, and shops. How much of us think about the effect of where we live on our children's health?
A 2005 survey listed the top fifty states for healthy kids. Connecticut came out the winner because of measures adopted by its school system in 2004. The survey emphasized that healthy living is determined not only by the school system but also through the home.
There were some shocking elements among the findings of this survey. For example, only one state requires daily physical education classes, and only 2/3 of American states teach elementary school children about nutrition. The judging was based on more than a dozen criteria, including playground safety and the number of fast food restaurants in a given state.
Encourage physical activity
The measures adopted by Connecticut that lifted its status to first place included a law requiring children up to the fifth grade to receive daily exercise, either through phys Ed classes or recess. The state encourages 60-90 minutes of weekly physical activity for students from kindergarten through the third grade, and 80-120 minutes for students from fourth to sixth grades.
Replacing the junk food with yogurt and fruit
Connecticut is also replacing the junk food in school vending machines for items like yogurt and fruit. So far, none of the kids are complaining.
Alaska bombed out at number fifty on the list: the state's state park playgrounds are in miserable condition. Mississippi didn't fare so well, either, in this study that provides a snapshot of American youth today. The state had the highest percentage of overweight students. 15% of Mississippi high school students are overweight with another like number on the verge of being too heavy.
Too much access to junk food
Based on this survey, I took a look at my neighborhood to see how it compared. Parks are plentiful and in good condition in my neighborhood, but our community's playground safety leaves much to be desired. My kids have too much access to junk food, because of their school's proximity to both fast food places and supermarkets packed to the brim with junk food. At least my kids' schools come out with top marks for providing education about healthy living as well as excellent physical education classes.