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Tuesday Talk: Olympics & MN—How to promote healthy lifestyles?

August 07, 2012 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

The Olympics provide ample examples for young people to engage in fun, healthy activities. Hopefully it will serve as an inspiration to all of us. For a generation now, we’ve dismissed the childhood obesity epidemic, blaming it on lazy kids and video games. Meanwhile, budgets and NCLB have some of our schools phasing out non-high profile sports, cutting physical education and limiting recess. Because of all the forces mentioned above, policymakers and health advocates must get involved.

What policies will promote healthy lifestyles that young people can carry into adulthood? Which Olympic events inspire you to live more healthfully?

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  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    August 7, 2012 at 9:36 am

    “Promoting Healthy Lifestyles”, kind of sounds like a cure all doesn’t it. How do you promote a healthy lifestyle in a food desert? Are we going to point at obese people now and say, see it’s their fault since they obviously lived an unhealthy lifestyle? It is a nice catch all middle class and upper class derogatory inferance. No matter that the sugar, bleached flour, high fat, and corn starch products that become the products the poor can afford. Living this healthy lifestyle the elite love to hold over poverty folks heads cost serious money. Time for some of you to actually cross the line and see what you can afford to eat on a poor persons budget. No trips to the healthfood store, no lobster or veal, but rather 70/30 hamburger with some kind of noodles and cheese in a box. Let’s see how your healthy lifestyle theories stand up to reality. While we can all understand that living healthy equates to better health outcomes, using healthy lifestyles as a political hammer and an excuse for blaming the victims here is absurd and obnoxious.

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    August 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Quite a few derogatory assumptions being made in your remarks.  I hope you will reserve judgment on “liberals” until you have learned about the parkland being developed on the former Wilder site.

    In addition to open green space and play areas, the Frogtown Park and Farm will feature urban gardens where adults and children can grow their own vegetables. In other Frogtown areas, residents are developing kid-friendly community gardens and planting trees. (See

    Kids will have room to run and play as well as to grow their own veggies.  Soon Frogtown may serve as an example for other urban neighborhoods where folks want to help children to grow up strong and well nourished. 

    With regard to exercise, we may have to wait until our government is again led by legislators who see that government needs the revenue that comes from fair taxation in order to provide every child with, among other things, both phys ed and recess.

  • Mary S. says:

    August 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    It’s great that we are doing incremental things like community gardens and parks for inner city children. We in the rural areas have lots of opportunities for children to work and play outdoors, yet we also are fighting the obesity and inactive lifestyle promoted by high starch and sugary foods, as well as electronic games and media that are keeping our young people immobilized. Sports participation used to be “free” with public school education and there was a sport for every season. Now families have to pay for participation in public school sports, not to mention private clubs and leagues for their kids. Instead of a well-rounded schedule offering a variety of sports for each child, children as young as 5 or 6 are started on a one-sport journey so that they have a chance to play on a traveling team in junior high and on a varsity team in high school. Often excelling at one sport leads to stress injuries of overworked areas and less strength in other muscle groups. Off season, kids lanquish and lose muscle tone. Solutions? How about more recess and phy ed for all K-12? How about funding schools at a level that encourages all kids to play sports, and doesn’t require a huge investment by the family for fees, equipment and travel costs? Exercise needs to be fun or lucrative, or it won’t happen.