Good news! There’s a better chance these days that when parents wave goodbye to the yellow bus on the first day of school, their kids will be ending up at a place that’s structuring their day in a healthy manner.
That’s the finding of a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. Over the past few years, schools have uprooted vending machines, overhauled menus, reexamined physical education and have cracked down on tobacco use.
Seeing as kids spend about a third of their time (and even more as a percentage of their waking hours) at school, this is welcome news, indeed. But what about the rest of the time?
You’ll read this week about the Albany Pine Bush’s after school program, Afterschool Adventurer, in which kids can come right after classes to take an educational tour of the preserve’s unique environments. It’s a great idea because it exercises both the mind and the body. It runs into December.
Environmental Educator Jacqueline Citriniti notes it’s a great way to get kids moving after they’ve been at a desk all day long. It’s also designed to ideally get the whole family out of doors for the afternoon, which is a great idea, as well.
It’s pretty easy to be active during the summer months. When the weather is good, there’s practically no reason not to be up, out and doing, whether it’s taking a hike, taking a bike ride, going for a swim or just taking a walk.
But as school shudders back into session and the days shorten bit by bit, it only hearkens the imminent arrival of colder weather and the busy holiday season. Keeping active and eating right can be a tall order under such circumstances.
Still, the CDC recommends children and adolescents get a full hour of physical activity every day. We urge parents to take a page from the playbook schools are using and make a healthy lifestyle part of their kid’s home life, not just when he or she is at school. Recently, a study out of the Harvard School of Public Health concluded that kids don’t naturally make up for time spent active at school by being inactive at home, so don’t assume because Jimmy had a raucous game of kickball earlier in the day he won’t be up for activities with the family.