Just for the run of it

It’s troubling to hear how child obesity continues to plague our youth. It can and usually does lead to serious health issues down the road.
May 28, 2013


Part of the problem is due to our youngsters being homebound with their video games and other technological forms of entertainment. Some educators even comment that their younger students have trouble holding a pencil due to their overworked thumbs.

Well, two recent events in the Tri-Cities brought a breath of fresh air to the physical fitness of our youth.

Nearly 1,500 girls and their families attended the annual Girls on the Run 5k event at Grand Valley State University.

Girls on the Run of Ottawa and Allegan Counties is an organization that educates and prepares girls in third through eighth grades to be healthy and confident through a curriculum that integrates running. The 5k at GVSU celebrated the end of the 10-week spring program. About 300 volunteers who coached the girls in the program also participated in the 5k run and walk.

A pep rally was followed by the race around campus. A dance party celebration concluded the neat event.

More than 70 schools participated in this year's program, which has been in Ottawa and Allegan counties for more than 10 years. Some of the early participants are now coaches or volunteers at the 5k.  

Girls on the Run teaches life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5k running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.

A fourth-grader was recently quoted saying the program has helped her develop healthier habits and gain more self-esteem. "When I used to watch TV, I would just sit and eat snack cakes," she said. "Now I do stretches.”

We commend the Girls on the Run program and the hundreds of volunteers who make it happen, and encourage them to keep on running.

The second event that caught our eye was the second annual Bike to School Day that saw hundreds of area students pedaling to school.

For Peach Plains Elementary School students, the Bike to School Day also kicked off the “Hike it, Bike it, Like it” event, in which students are encouraged to walk or bike to school each Wednesday in May. Participating students have their names placed in a drawing for lunchboxes, water bottles and wheel spoke reflectors.

Bus-riding students had the option of being dropped off a few blocks from the school so that they could also participate in the event.

As the weather continues to improve, we encourage all of our youth to get outside and get some exercise.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.