February is American Heart Month, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The month is exactly as you might think: a month dedicated to education on all things heart health, including raising awareness of heart disease.
Despite the urban myth, heart disease is not just a concern for the middle-aged or elderly: heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), can happen at any age. The Texas Heart Institute (THI) claims that someone in America dies from some form of cardiovascular disease every 37 seconds. While heart disease is not a major risk for children and teens, as THI states that only 3% of American children have high blood pressure, there has been an uptick in heart-related illnesses since the 2000s. In no greater risk factor can we see this dangerous rise than with obesity, which is a major indicator for the development of heart disease later in life.
According to the American Heart Association Statistical Fact Sheet, obesity was five times as high among children 5-17 years old between 2008-09 than it was between 1973-74. The sheet, which was updated in 2013, states that “23.9 million children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese; 33.0% of boys and 30.4% of girls. Of these children, 12.7 million are obese; 18.6% of boys and 15.0% of girls.” Obesity, for the record, is defined by the CDC as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) score of 30.0 or more. However, the CDC cautions, “At an individual level, BMI can be used as a screening tool but is not diagnostic of the body fatness or the health of an individual. A trained healthcare provider should perform appropriate health assessments in order to evaluate an individual’s health status and risks. If you have questions about your BMI, talk with your health care provider.”
We’ve discussed obesity and its stunning rise at length here on For the Fun of Fit, and how recess, or a mere 20 minutes of active play a day, can play a major role in its prevention—even though many states do not require mandatory daily recess for their students. In honor of Heart Month, we thought we’d list a few of our recess stencils that were designed with heart health in mind: namely, stencils that get the blood pumping!
Our Activity Stations stencil packages are designed with heart health in mind! Jumping Jacks, Squats and Lunges can be found in our basic package, while Planks, Sit-Ups, and Push-Ups make up our enhanced package. Combine them for maximum strength and conditioning, and don’t forget to arrange them in fun, engaging patterns! Kids love them.
2. PE SHAPE-UP Stencil Package
The PE SHAPE-UP stencil package is the whole shabang: a package of ten stencil sets combined into one. As the name implies, the PE SHAPE-UP package will work up a sweat. The package features a four-square set, basketball courts, race track and a pair of fitness agility ladders. Kids can race one another on the track and then jump to the basketball courts for maximum conditioning.
Did you know about the skyrocketing obesity rate among kids in the United States? Do you see childhood obesity impacting your students’ health in school? Let us know!