I remember when I first moved to Colorado, one of the things that I heard about this lovely state was how it was one of the healthiest states. And I totally get it. They love the great outdoors and I see my friends talking about going into the mountains, going hiking, camping or even fishing. As a New Yorker, I’m all about the city and I love the city life, but I have to adjust to life here in Colorado because my kids are here and I’ve decided to call it “home”. However, while Colorado is known as the healthiest state, for many Coloradans – especially our kids – the story is quite different. Did you know that Colorado ranks a mediocre 24th in the nation for our children’s level of physical activity, with nearly 55 percent of our kids not getting the recommended amount of physical activity each week?
My elder son is in high school with his younger brother in junior high and I asked about their PE schedule. My high schooler stated that they get PE only 2 times a week, while my junior high schooler states that he gets it 5 days a week, lucky him! Less than half of all Colorado middle school students attend PE five days a week, and nearly a third of Colorado middle schoolers don’t play sports outside of school. Colorado is one of only four states where physical education is not a required part of the state’s commitment to health. Hang your head in shame Colorado, hang your head in shame!!
When I lived in New York City, one of the things I loved about the city, although it’s referred to as a concrete jungle was the fact that there was at least 3 parks within a mile radius of our home. The kids would always go out to either park and there they would run around to their hearts content, no matter what the weather was like. Here in Colorado, I’ve noticed that in order for my kids, especially my daughter to make it to a park, I have to drive at least 10 minutes to make it there, and that’s to our closest park. There are no neighborhood parks in my neighborhood which makes it difficult for the kids to go out and enjoy themselves. Luckily I live in a cul-de-sac but before that, I lived in a neighborhood that didn’t even have a sidewalk for my kids to walk on.
Healthy youths are fundamental to Colorado’s future and physical activity and nutrition are good not just for your kids’ bodies, but also for their developing brains. Research has found that when kids get enough exercise, their learning skills, attitude and behavior at school improve. The same is true when they have access to healthy food choices. By helping kids be more physically active and eat well, we help them succeed academically, better preparing them for lifelong success.
You can put an end to childhood obesity by helping LiveWell Colorado remove barriers to healthy eating and physical activity for all Coloradans.
I would love to help ensure all Coloradans have access to health, including:
- Nutritious food at school
- Healthy, affordable food in all Colorado communities
- At least 30 minutes of physical activity each day in school for all students
- Access to affordable recreational spaces after school for all children
- Safe walking and biking opportunities
Join me in signing the pledge to end childhood obesity at NoMore24.org. Are you in?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LiveWell Colorado. The opinions and text are all mine.