By Ashley DiSalvo, School Teacher and Summer Camp Co-director
When we think of childhood, we think of laughter, playing with friends, and being carefree. However, childhood obesity rates have been on the rise for the last three decades and that means a trend toward devastating physical and mental health implications for our nation’s youth. Luckily, one of the most effective preventative measures is simple: more time spent playing.
The CDC recommends 60 minutes of daily activity for children age six to seventeen. While 77% of children ages 9 -13 reported spending free time on physical activity during the seven days prior to the survey, that number dropped to just 27.1% for high school students! Studies show that by senior year, only 35% of students are even attending weekly physical education classes.
As rates of physical activity decrease, the rates of children and adolescents who are overweight and obese continue to rise. According to the CDC, in 2012, one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Sadly, the obesity rate of children age 6 – 11 rose from 7% in 1980 to 18% in 2012. In addition, children and adolescents are at risk for many of the same weight-related ailments as adults. For example, obesity increases risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Other health issues include joint problems, sleep apnea, and prediabetes, a condition where high glucose levels indicate a high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Since childhood obesity is a strong indicator of obesity in adulthood, these health issues can expand to include greater risk of stroke and certain types of cancer later in life.
As adults, we are constantly bombarded with media outlets that inform us of the newest super foods and how to “slim down in 7 days,” but the reality is that healthy eating habits and engaging in regular physical activity are habits that are formed over time and they are solidified by genuine enjoyment in the benefits of those habits. Who wants to go hike a mountain, or attend a spin class, or challenge their flexibility in a yoga class if they don’t enjoy it? That’s why at Club Fit’s Summer Camp we provide a variety of physical activities such as Zumba, yoga, karate, swim, and a variety of sports so that all of our campers can find an activity that they truly enjoy and can develop into a lifelong “healthy habit.” Regular physical activity in children and adolescents improves strength and endurance and aids in the development of healthy bones and muscles. But the benefits don’t stop at the physical. Physical activity has also been shown to decrease anxiety and stress and to improve self-esteem. In addition, an increase in self-esteem is linked to greater academic performance as reflected by achievement and more time spent on task during the school day.
National trends depict us as a nation less inclined to physical activity as we age and therefore more apt to develop life threatening illnesses. At Club Fit’s Energy Camp, we encourage children to develop healthy and active lifestyles by providing opportunities for physical activity that are more aligned with “play” than “exercise.” Whether the campers are trying out pickelball for the first time or taking tennis lessons from a pro, summer camp is one of the best ways to introduce children to a variety of physical activities that can help establish lifelong healthy habits.
Learn more about how your kids will stay healthy and active at Club Fit Summer Camp!
Click here to Meet our Camp Directors!
Want to get your kids involved in an activity or sport now? Check out some of our ongoing programs for kids by visiting the “Sports” section of our website!
Here are just a few things we offer:
After School Sports
We offer programs for various ages from Preschool all the way through High School and Adulthood! Come visit us and try our facilities for free and see what living a healthy lifestyle in a healthy family oriented environment can do for you!