Preventing Accidental Injury.
Contact: Cherie Sage, 785-296-1223, or
TOPEKA, Kan. – More than 15,000 third-grade students across Kansas at more than 30 sites are taking part in the 22nd Annual Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day. The Governor’s Council on Fitness and the nonprofit Safe Kids Kansas, with support from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), are sponsoring this statewide event to remind everyone that outdoor activities can be enjoyable and to reinforce the health benefits of noncompetitive physical activities and injury prevention.
Statewide, all children participating in Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day will receive health and safety enrichment packets, jump ropes and popper balls to encourage physical activity. The majority of these fitness events are being held today, May 4.
“Kansas Kids Fitness Day is more than a series of events across Kansas. It is a demonstration of the feel-good fun and the importance of being physically active. Physical activity is particularly important for children to help build and maintain strong bones and muscles, control weight, improve self-image and even foster healthy social and emotional development. Evidence is also showing strong links to school performance. Physical activity is a win for everyone,” said Virginia Elliott, Chair of the Governors’ Council on Fitness.
In Topeka this morning, 600-plus third graders from 10 area schools met at MacLennan Park at Cedar Crest. Governor Sam Brownback and KDHE Secretary Robert Moser, M.D., welcomed participants to the event. They also presented Governor’s Council on Fitness member Harold Swedlund with a Governor’s Proclamation declaring today Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day. Some of the photos from the Topeka event are enclosed with this announcement.
Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day is an opportunity to impress upon youth the importance of being safe and physically active. A 2008 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than one-third of children and adolescents were either overweight or obese and physical inactivity was a major contributor to this problem.
According to the CDC report, 70 percent of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease in a population-based sample of 5 to 17 year olds. A 2004 study conducted by KDHE found that 16.7 percent of study participants in kindergarten through fifth grade and 14.6 percent of study participants in sixth through eighth grade were obese (Kansas Child Health Assessment and Monitoring Project 2004). At the same time, only 39.9 percent of study participants in kindergarten through fifth grade and 34.8 percent of study participants in sixth through eighth grade participated in the recommended amount of physical activity (60 minutes/day for 7 days per week).
For more information about Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day, please visit http://www.kdheks.gov/kkfd/index.html or the KDHE Office of Communications at (785) 296-5795.
Photos from Topeka’s Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day, May 4, 2012