Hopefully, you have looked at the 2015-16 Edition of the 'Inactivity Pandemic' Report. The 'Inactivity Pandemic' is affecting the body, mind, and spirit of Americans. 83 million Americans are totally sedentary and this number keeps growing. 80% of our children are at risk of disease but they are not active to healthy standards. The 'Inactivity Pandemic' is a major driver of increased health care costs. Click on the report to the right to download a copy.
It is one thing to acknowledge there is a problem. But, how did we get here? How did so many Americans and children become 'couch potatoes'. Below are the contributing factors or 'roots' of inactivity.
Throughout the list, you will see a few yellow PHIT America Focus icons. These icons indicate where PHIT America is focused with programs and initiatives offering real solutions to the 'Inactivity Pandemic'.
Entertainment & Technology - This is a huge factor. TV programming has expanded. Even TVs, themselves, have gotten better -- from small TVs to HD to 4K, etc. Video gaming has advanced and are consuming much of our time. But, the biggest factor, especially with children, is the advancement of electric devices...or, as we call them, 'Sedentary Devices.’ Today, 24% of all teens in the USA say they are online all the time! Texting, chat sessions, Facebook, Twitter...the list can go on and on. These entertainment technology devices and programs are only going to get more entertaining in the future.
Decline of Physical Education & Activity in Schools - The decline and lack of emphasis of physical education is probably the most important factor affecting inactive lifestyles. Today, only 48% of all high schools have physical education. The average school budget for P.E. is only $764 per year for an entire school. What about recess, you might ask? Good luck finding it in existence. In December of 2015, Pediatrics Magazine announced that kids are only active (moving) 23 minutes per day in school and 42 minutes overall. You can see the importance of P.E. and activity on this web page. You can directly correlate the decrease in activity in the USA with the decline of the frequency of P.E. in schools.
We Have Not Placed The Proper Value On Physical Activity - When you ask people what is a bigger health issue these days, obesity or inactivity, obesity is almost always selected. You can see the focus today is on healthy eating. Yes, this is very important. However, twice as many people are dying from inactivity as opposed to obesity. We have not focused our messaging on the tremendous benefits of activity and fitness. Increased physical activity will result in improvement of one's body, mind and spirit. Look at all the benefits of activity on this web page. Activity is truly the ‘Wonder Drug,’ as described by the CDC.
Recreational Sports For Children Have Become Too Serious – Sometimes, it feels like we are looking for our children to become superstars of sports, instead of just having fun playing sports and learning the life skills that sports teach you. Moms and dads need to 'lighten up.' The specialized, 'travel team'-approach to youth sports is turning many children away from sports. We need more 'fun' leagues and events for kids. Sports and fitness companies, governing bodies of sports, and all professional sport leagues need to invest in fun, beginner programs rather than just cater to the most serious players (and consumers).
Costs To Participate in Many Sports Or Activities - The cost for children to be on ‘travel teams,’ 'pay-to-play' for school sports, high-performance clinics, and the overall costs to play local recreational sports have risen over the years. Even equipment costs for the most serious participants have become prohibitive for some. It is hard for families to afford to have their children participate, especially at higher levels.
Moms and Dads - Yes, This Is A Big Issue - Too many parents are content to see their children play video games, watch TV or be consumed with their electronic devices. This may be easy, but it is not the healthiest approach for children. Parents need to limit their 'electronic time'…..bring back real 'play' into their lives….and, start with some family fitness activities. They are fun, too.
Safe Environments To Play for Children, Especially in Cities - Many metropolitan areas don't have places which are safe for children to play outside. City officials need to carve out safe zones where ‘kids can be kids.’ We must restore ‘play time’ to the lives of our children.