Program aims to get kids moving

The numbers on obesity
– especially among children – are alarming:
• Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are
obese, which means their weight is at least 10 percent higher than
what is recommended for their height and body type.
The numbers on obesity – especially among children – are alarming:

• Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese, which means their weight is at least 10 percent higher than what is recommended for their height and body type.

• A child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult.

• Unhealthy weight gain because of poor diet and lack of exercise accounts for more than 300,000 deaths a year.

These statistics from PediatricObesity.com are just a few that are leading local, state and county organizations to focus on stopping the problem of childhood obesity and giving children the tools to live healthy lives. That’s why the Gilroy Nutrition Task Force, and state and county health organizations are putting on a program in February to help those who work with children find ways to get kids moving throughout the day.

Research has found that most children do not get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day, that pediatric obesity is widespread in Gilroy and the South Valley area, and that Latino and poor children are even more likely to be overweight than their peers.

That extra weight on children leads to increased risk of developing high blood pressure, type II diabetes and high cholesterol as well as increases the demands on a child’s heart, lungs and joints.

The program, SPARK, which stands for Sports, Play & Active Recreation for Kids, is a workshop that teaches staff members of programs for children about the relationship between physical activity and the prevention of pediatric obesity; the organization and instruction techniques to teach physical activity; how to improve movement skills; and how to encourage children to partake in a lifetime of physical fitness.

Lillian Castillo, public health nutritionist with Santa Clara County, notes that a lot of children go home from school and watch television or play video games. She said incorporating physical activity into a child’s day can be as simple as going for a walk after dinner.

“It’s not a question of getting out there and running,” she said “It’s a question of moving your body and loving it.”

The program is open to anyone who works with youth and is limited to 40 participants. The training is free. A $25 place-holder deposit to be sent in with registration will be returned to those who attend.

The training will take place Feb. 4 from 8am to 3:30pm at the GUSD Administrative Building, 7810 Arroyo Circle in Gilroy. For more information, contact Lillian Castillo at (408) 847-4610 or [email protected]

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