The pediatric population is one of the subpopulations across the lifespan (birth through 17 years of age). According to the Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health:
- 31 percent of children aged 10-17 years were overweight or obese with nearly one of five youths aged 2–19 years being obese.
- Less than three in 10 high school students get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the current status of our youth is at risk for developing chronic diseases that will follow them into their young adulthood and eventually into their later years unless otherwise addressed.
But there is hope!
- Younger adults are more likely to meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guideline for Americans than older adults.
- Greater amounts of time and energy are currently being dedicated to promote positive health habits, particular in the school setting, where children and adolescents can be impacted by a variety of new influences outside of the home.
It is within the school setting that many positive habits can begin to develop; learning habits, social habits, eating habits, and physical activity (PA) habits. Currently, initiatives like Let’s Move, by the First Lady Michelle Obama, and Action for Healthy Kids are being carried out to fight the childhood obesity and physical inactivity epidemic.
Joining in this fight, EIM looks to add value to these initiatives through such items like the creation and implementation of a Pediatric Physical Activity Vitals Sign (PPAVS) that can be used by school health workers and certified physical education teachers. There is also great potential for synergistic partnering of pediatrician offices, where wellness visits are conducted yearly and are a great opportunity for PA assessment and linkage with in- and after-school PA programs like SPARK.
The introduction of EIM into the school setting and pediatric care comes at a very crucial time in the developmental process of our children and adolescent, helping establish positive health and lifestyle habits at an early age at the beginning of the lifespan cycle.
Visit Exercise Your Life for more information on ways to get you, your family and friends, and your community active!