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Moving the future: We are failing our children with inactivity

By: Milo F. Bryant Special to The Gazette
August 13, 2013
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photo - Fairmeadow Elementary School fourth grade student Juliet Lee, left, orders pepperoni pizza during a school lunch program in Palo Alto, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010, in Palo Alto, Calif. More children would eat lunches and dinners at school under legislation passed Thursday by the House and sent to the president, part of first lady Michelle Obama's campaign to end childhood hunger and fight childhood obesity. The $4.5 billion bill approved by the House 264-157 would expand a program that provides full meals after school to all 50 states. It would also try to cut down on greasy foods and extra calories by giving the government power to decide what kinds of foods may be sold in vending machines and lunch lines. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Fairmeadow Elementary School fourth grade student Juliet Lee, left, orders pepperoni pizza during a school lunch program in Palo Alto, Calif., Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010, in Palo Alto, Calif. More children would eat lunches and dinners at school under legislation passed Thursday by the House and sent to the president, part of first lady Michelle Obama's campaign to end childhood hunger and fight childhood obesity. The $4.5 billion bill approved by the House 264-157 would expand a program that provides full meals after school to all 50 states. It would also try to cut down on greasy foods and extra calories by giving the government power to decide what kinds of foods may be sold in vending machines and lunch lines. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) 

Put bluntly, we are failing our children.

Put nicely, we do not play anymore, and our children do not either. We aren't making them run, jump, slide, climb, kick, hit and throw the way we did at their age.

The present generation, my generation, the 30- and 40-somethings. We are villains, deteriorating our kids as a whole because of one or all of the following reasons:

1. We are too afraid to let them go out and move the way we used to move.

2. We systematically are taking away their physical education and recess programs at school.

3. We are feeding them a bunch of crap.

4. We are not moving, plus we are eating a bunch of garbage, so they simply are following our lead.

C.L.A.Y. is the Coalition for Launching Active Youth.

It is a group of radicals, so to speak - folks who do not mind bucking the mandates of the status quo in efforts to give our children childhoods filled with thought-inducing movement.

We want to alter the future by going back to a past when, after assembly, the original play station came with a swing and a slide - not a joystick. We want to see children enjoy school again and not simply endure it. We want to see young minds kinesthetically and vestibularly confront obstacles, fail and fail again - only to learn from each challenge, eventually overcoming them and succeeding.

We train individuals and groups, giving them two important things: a comprehensive understanding of the magnitude of what they will face in today's youth health fitness arena and, more importantly, the tools to win the battles.

From a practical standpoint, today's prospective soldiers, airmen, seamen, police officers and firefighters more than ever lack the physical ability to make it through the first stage of training. The U.S. is in the worst physical shape in its history. The world is not far behind. Diseases and ailments that stem from a lack of proper movement will cost countries more than everything except war.

C.L.A.Y.'s mission is simple: We want to annihilate physical inactivity. Parents and guardians, we would love your help.

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Bryant holds several national training certifications, is an author, lectures internationally and is the founder of C.L.A.Y. His fitness tips appear biweekly in Health and Wellness.

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