EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 9, 2013

Editorial: A look at what others are saying


-- The Sun Journal of Lewiston (Maine)

Fitness starts early

Whatever happened to the rambunctious child?

There was a time -- within the memory of many of today’s parents of younger children and teens -- when grown-ups had to shoo kids out of the house to keep them from tearing the house apart. It was a mother’s dread if a Saturday or school vacation was washed out by rain.

A recent analysis of 50 studies on millions of children around the world show that kids today are 15 percent less fit than their parents were. While pediatricians cite several reasons for the decline in fitness, the drastic change over a 30-year period suggests one huge negative impact of technology on our lives.

But iPads, YouTube, X-Boxes and Facebook can’t take all the blame.

Today, every family, rich or poor, has to worry whenever their children are out of doors, and the LCD screen, which occupies children while adults work both inside and outside the home, protects them from some of the modern world’s more frightening creations.

Similarly, our schools often don’t provide gym classes two or three times per week, offering fewer opportunities to shake children out of sedentary habits and into activity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two hours or fewer of screen time per day for children, and it’s up to parents to enforce that discipline and explain the impact of physical activity and sufficient sleep on their bodies and minds.

Likewise, neighborhoods can work together to create safe spaces for both formal and informal community fitness activities. And in schools, even when there’s no gym class, teachers can find ways to work physical activity into their curricula.

Good habits of physical and mental fitness won’t get started by themselves, but they are needed if we want our children to be better off than their parents.

-- The Standard-Times of New Bedford

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