Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director
The start of a new school year is a great time to highlight a few of our top advocacy priorities in Oregon. That’s because we’re focused on removing the greatest barriers to a healthy future for our kids. Today, 1 in 4 Oregon kids is overweight or obese, leading to heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and eventually, early death. This dangerous trend is caused in part by growing inactivity—consider this: Today’s kids are the most inactive generation in history.
That’s why the American Heart Association is dedicated to supporting physical activity for kids before, during and after the school day. Here are a few exciting efforts we’re working on:
- BEFORE & AFTER SCHOOL - Safe Routes to School: When kids can walk or bike to school, they can get over 60% of the daily recommended exercise needed for a healthy childhood. Unfortunately, many families lack the safe sidewalks, crosswalks and infrastructure to make walking or biking in their neighborhood an option. That’s why we’re part of growing effort called For Every Kid. These 30+ organizations are asking the Metro Regional Government to ensure every kid has a healthy future and the ability to safely walk, bike, or take transit to school. Please sign the letter to Metro Councilors asking for their support.
- DURING SCHOOL - Physical Education & Activity: Kids spend most of their waking hours in school, so it’s important that they move a lot throughout the day to be healthy and to keep their minds ready to learn. Oregon Kids Move with Heart is an exciting new initiative made possible through a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We are working with the Beaverton School District during the 2015-2016 school year to support their efforts to increase awareness of the importance of physical activity, and to increase physical education and activity opportunities throughout the school day for K-8 students. Take a look at these photos from the recent kick off with Beaverton School District.