Monday, March 31, 2008

Out of the Mouth of Babes

"The importantest thing I learned was to stay active and stuff," said Meagan Cancilla, 9, from Sansome School in Canada. "That's so I don't become lazy and sick." Like most 4th graders she spent her recess bouncing between a soccer game, tossing a Frisbee and playing tag. She said she's usually quite active, but realizes now she has to stay that way.

She's part of a study by Manitoba Institute of Child Health researcher Dr. Dean Kriellaars -- who is encouraging kids to racked up as many steps as they can in a 15-minute time span during morning recess. Most students clocked upwards of 2,000 steps. But that level of activity is an exception to the rule. In fact, most kids only take an average of 8,000 steps each day -- about 5,000 less than what doctors say keeps bones and muscles strong and reduces the risk of obesity.

According to Kriellaars, "We're looking at school as the battleground for fighting an inactivity epidemic."
Pedometers are one method that's working. He suggests providing more -- but not necessarily expensive -- equipment (like pedometers) and bringing back tag, which some schools have banned.