I must admit that I don’t remember taking the presidential fitness test as a kid. With that being said, I was surprised to learn from my daughter that in her class of club soccer, volleyball, and baseball players she was the only kid to meet the highest level (greater than the 85th percentile across several measures). She made it today by running her mile in 7:37.
So, what does this require? It made me curious. Here’s what you have to do:
Could you do that? These seem pretty difficult to me. I could probably do the mile in 6:06, but I doubt I could do 53 pull-ups. And, I doubt I could sit and reach 7 inches beyond my toes. (Looking at the 17 year old male standards.)
On the other hand, we certainly need our kids to be more fit. We have a big childhood obesity issue.
But, it also made me think about Michelle Obama’s efforts in this space.
I think these programs are good starts, but lets not forget that obesity is a social issue and kids learn from those around them. Let me ask the uncomfortable questions about those who our kids look up to.
- How many overweight coaches do you know?
- How about overweight teachers?
- How about policemen and firefighters?
- How about clergy?
These are all key role models…not to mention us parents who are often overweight.
I guess my suggestion here to the President would be to think about how to use our massive government payrolls as a foundation for change. Let’s think about the Presidential Fitness Challenge and create a broader wellness solution to change the visual role models for our kids and figure out how to help companies invest in this.
For example, we know that sleeping is correlated to weight and health. I was talking to my brother-in-law who is a police officer when he told me that they are expected to get 8 hours of sleep a night. Imagine if companies set this expectation for their employees (sleep impact on work).
“Sitting Disease” may make a great late night comedy story line, but it’s a reality of our information economy that has to be addressed.