Last Friday at work I attended a ceremony where the guest speaker, Dr. Russell Pate from the University of South Carolina gave a very informative presentation titled “The Kids of Generation Z – Will They Be Active, Fit and Healthy?” Dr. Pate’s presentation focused mainly on the prevalent childhood obesity trend happening in the United States and how we can better focus on creating healthy lifestyles for the younger generation. Now, I personally do not have any kids, but I believe the information that was presented still applied to me and many others my age without children as well.
One of the main things Dr. Pate said during his presentation that really caught my attention was that he believes it is a terrible thing to condition naturally active children to sit at a desk all day at school. This behavior is ingrained in their minds from a young age and they continue to remain sedentary into adulthood. Think back to when you were a kid and how many long hours you had to sit at a school desk and focus on your school work or some really boring slideshow to stay awake. Now think about your current job. Most of you might be like many other Americans who sit at a desk all day at work, which was something you were conditioned to do from a young age.
Dr. Pate discussed how this trend of sedentary behavior must go away so future generations can live a more healthy and fit life. This can be accomplished by better utilizing physical education programs and increasing access to physical means of transportation such as walking or bicycling to school. He also discussed how people nowadays have greater access to technology which makes it that much easier to be sedentary by choosing to play a game on your tablet rather than playing a game outside. This is why screen-time must be limited after school for children, and the same should go for adults as well.
If physical activity is made apart of the everyday routine, not only in school but in the entire community, then the children of generation Z will live a much healthier life. Everyone in a community must play an active role by being good advocates for physical activity and healthy living. As adults, if we set a good example by being physically active in our own lives then the children of our community will be active as well. Everyone wins!
So no matter what, get up and move today because you could be influencing the younger generation. Ride your bike to work, walk to the grocery store, or choose to enjoy the outdoors after the work day instead of playing that game on your Xbox.
Let’s help everyone become Happily Ever Healthy!