How Colorado Parents Can Take Action in Their Schools
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Last week I wrote about Colorado kids and how they rank 24th out of 50 states for health and physical activity, leading to many having childhood obesity. In a post entitled, 6 Ways Colorado Schools Can Help Fight Childhood Obesity, I gave many ideas for changes Colorado schools can make to help our kids. But how can Colorado parents help schools make these changes? Well, I’m so glad you asked!
Did you know? Colorado kids are in school an average of seven hours per day. Combined with the number of days they are in school, this means that Colorado kids are in school a total of 1,197 hours per year. – NCES
That’s a lot of hours! But Colorado parents don’t need to feel helpless, there are plenty of things you can do, both big and small to help take action against childhood obesity in schools. Here are just a few things you can do today!
Colorado Parents Can Take Action by:
1. Talking About the Statistics.
Believe it or not, simply talking about the issues you’re passionate about or even writing a letter about them, can make small waves that lead to change. Here are just a few people you can talk to about the statistics: your friends, your child’s principal, your child’s teacher(s), and you could even write a letter to your mayor, governor, or other city council member.
Here are just a few facts from LiveWell Colorado you can talk about or include in a letter:
- “Colorado ranks 24th in the country for our children’s level of physical activity with nearly 55 percent of kids not getting the recommended amount of physical activity each week.”
- “Less than half of all Colorado middle school students attend PE five days a week, and nearly a third of Colorado middle schoolers don’t play sports outside of school.”
- “Colorado is one of only four states where physical education is not a required part of the state’s commitment to health.”
2. Going Into Schools Themselves.
How much do you know about your child’s school? Do you know the school policies? What your kids might be eating? How much exercise they get during the day? If not, I suggest that Colorado parents need to be more actively involved in their children’s schools.
So what do you do if you decide to go into your child’s school? Here are just a few suggestions:
- Take a look at the outdoor equipment and playground. Is it safe? Check the school’s gym. Do they have equipment, balls, etc.? If not, propose a fundraiser so the school can buy more.
- Make sure each school has safe routes for walking and biking to school. Contact your local council member if you have any concerns.
- Go into the cafeteria. What is being served? Do the kids have access to fresh, healthy food? If not, ask the school board how you can help your child’s school increase healthy and delicious food options.
- Go into the classrooms. Talk to the teacher or observe how much physical activity the kids get. Make sure the kids are getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day and if not, ask to set up a meeting with the teacher to talk more how you can help make these changes.
- Attend a PE class. Find out how often the kids are getting PE, how long it lasts, and what they do during this time. Suggest activities and/or field trips that could help get kids moving more. Make sure there are plenty of opportunities for kids to drink water and not sugary drinks.
Remember: “By helping kids be more physically active and eat well, we help them succeed academically, better preparing them for lifelong success.”
Colorado Parents: What barriers do you see at your child’s school that may contribute to childhood obesity? Which of the above suggestions could you do help take action at your children’s schools?
Are you in? If so, join me in signing the pledge to end childhood obesity at the No More 24 campaign website. Colorado kids are too important to let this opportunity for awareness go by. Remember: Childhood obesity ends with you.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LiveWell Colorado . The opinions and text are all mine.