Inspiring Kids to be Healthier

Feb 4, 2014, 16:58 PM by

y-healthy-kidsIn Colorado, we consider ourselves to be a population of elite athletes, adventurers and health food aficionados. We’ve been called the fittest and slimmest state in the country, and we take pride in topping these lists.

However—and this is rarely mentioned in those glowing headlines—while Colorado adults are considered the leanest in the nation, the state’s kids have fallen behind. Between 2003 and 2007, Colorado’s childhood obesity ranking dropped from 3rd leanest to 23rd. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, between 2008 and 2011, obesity rates among low-income preschoolers declined in 19 of the 43 states that were studied. Sadly, Colorado was not one of them. In fact, it was one of just three states in which childhood obesity rates went up.

Admittedly, some recent data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment showed the state’s childhood obesity rates had dropped to about 8.4 percent in 2012. Many state and regional agencies and local organizations—like the Y—continue to work diligently to make a difference in the numbers.

But there is no quick fix.

Here are a few things to keep in mind. Real improvement will come from creating long-term changes to a child’s lifestyle. It’s about teaching them to love their bodies and have confidence in who they are. It’s about teaching them at a young age that daily activity and nutrition are important. And it’s about making fitness fun and illustrating how healthy food is delicious food.

Tip From the YMCA of Boulder Valley

There's no need to get cold feet about spending a winter day outdoors. Here are some creative ideas to bring those principles into your home:

Winter Baseball - Create small piles of snow to represent home and three bases. From the pitcher's mound toss snowballs at all the bases to see if you can hit each base in a row.

Rolling and Rolling - Pair up for a contest to see which team can roll the biggest snow ball.

Skating Fun - Go skating as a family and enjoy the time on the ice.

This article previously appeared in Boulder Valley School District's Thrive Update.

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