The United States is facing an obesity epidemic. Nearly one in three children and teens are overweight or obese and many are inactive, according to the American Heart Association. About 50 percent of U.S. adults and 65 percent of adolescents do not currently get the recommended amount of daily physical activity.
School districts can increase physical activity in children and young adults by opening playgrounds, gyms and fields to the community when school’s out, especially in lower-income areas, according to an American Heart Association policy statement published in the American Journal of Public Health.
The statement recommends that school districts and community organizations create shared use agreements to allow supervised activities like sports leagues and unsupervised playing. It reported that low-income communities have less access to recreational spaces and community recreation centers.
“If you want to get active, you need a place to be active,” said Deborah Rohm Young, primary author of the statement. Dr. Young is with the Department of Research and Evaluation at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena. “We need more voices to help local schools share their playgrounds and gyms with the community.”
Recognizing that schools have legitimate concerns with simply unlocking their gates and doors, the statement identifies five key issues to address with community organizations:
- Who pays to keep facilities open and maintained;
- How schools and community groups can best communicate;
- Whether schools have appropriate spaces for physical activity;
- Who takes on liability for injuries or damage to school property;
- How schools can select the best groups to work with.
A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 61.6 percent of the 800 districts surveyed currently have a formal agreement for use of their facilities. However, many of the districts are in more affluent areas that already have more opportunities for physical activity.
“The bottom line is sharing spaces can bring communities together and improve the health of all residents,” said Young. “Many schools have found ways to make it work and with the low rates of physical activity among kids and families, every green space and playground that is available means more kids that are active, more kids that are healthy and more families having fun.”
For more information:
reblogged from National American Heart Association blog
We want to know.. What school has the best budding botanists around? We know Teaching Gardeners are growing and learning in every day and we want to show the world what you can do!
Share your Teaching Garden harvest pictures on Instagram with #TGHarvest during October for official bragging rights and a chance to have your school garden featured on our national sites!
Click to enlarge the flyer below and see how to get started today!
Happy Meatless Monday! In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, this week’s meatless recipe comes with a special Mexican flair! Chef LaLa has teamed up with the American Heart Association to show us how to make some of Latin America’s favorite dishes even healthier. Today she’s showing us how to make Jicama Salad. Its low in calories, packed nutrients and flavor, and a delicious meatless dish.
Vamos! Watch the video below and lets get cooking.
Are you celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month in the garden? Tell us how!
Happy Fall Teaching Gardeners! Its harvest time, and we know your kiddos are chomping at the bit to try those garden goodies. Make sure you’re ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor with these quick tips.
We want to see your gardeners in action! Remember to invite your local AHA staff to your Harvest day. We’re ready to help you celebrate your success!
- Brush up on your cooking skills
Your students are dying to try those fresh fruits and veggies. Make sure you know how to prepare them. Check out Simple Cooking with Heart to find healthy prep methods and ways for your students to lend a hand in the kitchen.
Be sure to use the flip camera provided with your Teaching Garden to take pictures and video of your students in action. BONUS POINTS: Upload your best harvest photos to Instagram and use #TGHarvest during the month of October for a chance to be featured on our sites! Click here for contest details.
Keep your students engaged with the garden in the classroom with the Teaching Gardens Journal. Write about the changing seasons, which veggies they enjoyed the most, or what they would do different next season!
If you harvest more than you can eat, consider donating your surplus crop to a local food back. Its a great way to reach out to your community and show students the value of giving back. Not sure where to donate? Use this tool to find food banks in your area.
We want to see your growth, but we need data measure it.
For schools new to the Teaching Gardens program, make sure that you have filled out and submitted your Pre-Survey. Gardens in their second cycle after completing a harvest should have completed the Post Survey.
The new school year is underway and our friends at Moss Haven Elementary in Dallas Texas are getting back in the swing of things by heading back to the farm. Check out this excerpt from their blog about their first week back.
Every year students, teachers and parents feel excited and hopeful for a new year at school. At our school we have those same feelings, but in addition to those, we are thrilled about our farm and the hope for lots of green growth in the garden.
It’s been a great start so far. Our wonderful Master Gardeners have helped align curriculum for every grade level, so that teachers can easily take their students out to enjoy a hands on lesson in the garden. They also taught all of our classes a lesson on garden safety, using tools correctly and helped the classes plan for planting their Fall crops. This partnership has been absolutely amazing!
Our first week of school gave us an invitation to bring a few farmers to an American Heart Association board meeting. This group was made up of folks from all around the country who help decide how to spend money for the American Heart Association. They wanted to hear from us, so a few of my farm friends came along, because they are the best spokespeople for our farm. They were a hit!
Our hydroponic tank has been set up and new growth has started there as well.
Teachers have taken their classes out to teach lessons and the kids have been out to make observations on the farm.
We were lucky to have some farm hands show up on Saturday to wrangle our pullets and help them get used to being picked up, held, pet and loved.
Our “Name the Pullets” suggestion list has grown to 3 pages and we will unveil their names next week at our school assembly “Round Up”.
This year we will continue to “Hatch Healthiness” but also will be “Making A Difference” by planting our farm field full of veggies that will be donated to families who are in need.
It’s going to be a great school year farm friends! I will be sure to keep you posted!
E I E I O….,
To read the full article or check out more of the adventures on the Moss Haven Farm follow their blog!