A Contract for Fitness
MADISON - A generation ago, summertime was a vast expanse of activity for kids. They spent countless days outdoors playing, and by extension, staying fit.
"When I was a kid, you literally had to drag us inside," recalls Randy Clark, the director of UW Health Sports Medicine's Exercise Science Laboratory.
Flash forward to today, and the picture is very different. Between parental concerns over safety, a lack of supervision and easy access to hundreds of television channels and video games, summer has become a fitness bummer for far too many kids.
Research conducted by UW Health pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Aaron Carrel confirms it: Dr. Carrel studied a group of middle-school students enrolled in a special physical education curriculum developed in conjunction with UW Health's Pediatric Fitness Clinic.
He found that kids who made fitness gains as part of a school-based fitness intervention lost those gains during the summer months, when supervision and structure evaporated.
To help fight that troubling trend and take advantage of the fitness possibilities of the great outdoors, UW Health's Pediatric Fitness Clinic is encouraging Wisconsin families to print out and sign a fitness contract available at uwhealthkids.org/fitkids.
By signing the contract, your family commits to spending the months of June, July and August paying attention to fitness together. That could mean skipping the drivethrough and planning a healthy meal or finding fun ways to become more active together—walking, biking or playing an organized sport.
Together, you can restore summer fitness and help your kids stay healthy! For more ideas on ways to stay fit and a list of fitness-friendly recipes, visit uwhealthkids.org/fitkids.
Date published: 6/26/2008
Date Published: 06/26/2008