Kids Will Exercise for 10 Continuous Hours During "Exercise US" Day on Thursday, October 6, 2011!
According to The Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation 2010 approximately one in three children are either overweight or obese. In order to combat this problem, the Surgeon General, Regina M. Benjamin M.D., stated that a united effort by all private and public sectors of the nation is required. Len Saunders is doing his part in response to this call to action. "I believe in team effort," he stated during our phone interview. He noted that a continuity in the message that we send to our nation's children is essential to help them form health-promoting habits that will last a lifetime. Both schools and parents need to stress the importance of regular physical activity, but it needs to be done in a fun and engaging way to get children on board.
Exercise US day motivates children to get active because they see other kids doing it too and they want to become part of the action. This is important according to Saunders. He also noted that it is essential to not only tell kids to exercise, but to explain why it is important. "A healthy lifestyle is not just physical, but it is cognitive as well," Saunders explained. Children become empowered when they understand why they are doing what they are doing rather than just doing it because they were told to do so. To help create this understanding, Saunders provides various downloads on the Exercise US website, such as word searches, puzzles and mazes that can help to spark conversations about why our bodies need to exercise to be healthy.
Saunders stated that the intent of the Exercise US initiative is to "jump start" good habits. The program is open to all children and schools and organizations are free to engage in any form of physical activity they choose during their 15-minute exercise segment. Schools and organizations who are interested in joining the campaign on Thursday, October 6, 2011 can visit the Exercise US website and sign up for a 15-minute time slot. They will also be able to access a list of suggested activities to perform during the event (e.g., dance, aerobics, yoga, etc.,).
Phone Interview; Len Saunders; September 28, 2011