OUR VIEW: Youth sport good in short and long term

Help support local sport in Grand Forks on Wednesday, Sept. 26 by wearing a jersey.

While education is an extremely important factor in a child’s life, the value of sport and play should not be understated either.

According to Health Canada’s website, the obesity rate among children and youth in Canada has tripled over the past 25 years and with the amount of sugar in foods and the sedentary lifestyles that Nintendo Wii, Xbox360 or PlayStation 3 can bring, it’s easy to see why.

Diet, of course, plays a factor in helping children maintain a healthy weight but sports and extracurricular activities that promote active lifestyles are important as well.

To that end, two Saturdays from now (Sept. 29) will be Sports Day in Canada, which is a national celebration of all levels of sport, whether it be children playing in community sports or athletes in high-level competition.

The Sports Day in Canada website says that the event is an opportunity to celebrate the power of sport to build community and strengthen national spirit and more importantly, to help ensure a lifestyle that is healthy.

A healthy lifestyle is beneficial to both the young and old but if the foundation is laid at a young age, it will be beneficial, as the elements of that lifestyle – being active and having a proper diet – will be engrained.

While Sports Day in Canada is on Sept. 29, there will be a jersey day on Wednesday, Sept. 26 and people and students across the area will be asked to donate $2 in support of local sport – proceeds will remain in the community.

A Public Health Agency of Canada and Canadian Institute of Health Information report on obesity that was released in June 2011 said that one in four adults are obese, while the economic costs linked to obesity (based on diseases related to obesity) in 2008 were estimated to be $4.6 billion.

The toonie contributed on Sept. 26 is for local sport and local sport is a great way for children to be active and with an active lifestyle, the obesity rates among children are sure to decline.

And if there is a decline in children, eventually obesity will decline amongst adults as well.

– Grand Forks Gazette

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