Ensuring that kids have access to healthy foods and physical activities year-round is important to combating the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation helps to do just that in a number of ways, including activating young people in the effort through their Youth Advisory Board. One of the only youth-led advisory groups in the country focused on childhood obesity issues, the Youth Advisory Board is a great opportunity for young people to connect and share experiences with their peers; plan and implement an annual service learning program with support from the Alliance; and serve as thought-leaders who help inform public health and education professionals, elected officials, the media, and community members.
In the blog post below, Bryan Zhang, a member of the Youth Advisory Board shares his thoughts about how kids can stay active and healthy this summer.
I am a Youth Ambassador for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and a student at Sycamore School in Indianapolis Indiana. I like swimming, reading, playing hockey, skiing, and many other sports. That's why I joined the alliance when I was 9 years old and I really enjoy helping create a healthier generation for my peers.
When it comes to health, I am most passionate about reducing screen time and helping kids get more outdoor activities. I strongly believe that health is important because it is one of the keys to having a happy and long life. I think that child obesity can also lead to adult obesity, which is why it is important to develop our healthy and active lifestyle when we are young.
I think it is important to get active in order to prevent obesity. This is why I am very interested in helping my classmates reduce screen time and increase their activity this summer. Scientists recommend that kids get 60 minutes of physical activity every day to keep our bodies healthy. Replacing screen time with going outside and moving more is a great way to reach those 60 minutes.
Having playground equipment to play and exercise on can help us be more active, too. I am planning to have more playground equipment for my school and have a playground in our neighborhood, so that kids can have more options for activities rather than stare at a screen.
Also, it would help to reduce screen time if families could own fewer electronic devices. One of the biggest threats is video games. Think of video games as a virus and you just touch it, then you could get infected. Getting hooked on a video game can suck your time away, just like a black hole.
Wherever you are and however old you are, there is plenty that you can do to create a healthier generation!
What are your plans to get moving this summer?