Over 800 of grade school aged children in Salina spent Friday morning outside, participating in fun, educational fitness activities. Third grade students from multiple Salina area schools gathered at the East Crawford Recreation Area as part of the statewide “Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day”.
All of the activities at the Salina event had multiple elements of physical activity like jumping rope, running, and throwing. There were activities that included the use of hand and eye coordination as well. Several organizations, including the Salina Fire Department and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism tied in safety messages with physical events.
More than 70 community volunteers helped supervise the activities and events, which promoted physical activity, safety and wellness.
According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day is a statewide event held every year on the first Friday in May. It focuses on increasing physical activity and safety awareness among 3rd grade students in Kansas. Nearly 18,000 students participate each year at more than 40 sites across the state.
A 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted in Kansas High Schools reported that 13.1% of students surveyed were at risk for becoming overweight and 12.4% of students were overweight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children and adolescents participate in 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, preferably daily. The benefits associated with regular physical activity include: weight control, increased muscular strength, improved bone mass, improved cardiovascular fitness, decreased blood pressure, improved self-esteem, reduced anxiety and stress. In 2009, only 49% of Kansas High School students reported being physically active for a total of 60 minutes per day on five or more days of the past seven days.