TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Thousands of children got an extra dose of "play time" Friday.
Gov. Sam Brownback welcomed some of them to MacLennan Park near the governor's mansion. More than 600 third graders from 10 Topeka-area schools turned out for the 22nd annual Kansas Kids Fitness and Safety Day.
The kids ran around obstacles and under parachutes, tossed balls and played other games. Organizers say the goal is to get kids active and show them how fitness can be fun.
“Kansas Kids Fitness Day is more than a series of events across Kansas. It is a demonstration of the feel-good fun and the importance of being physically active. Physical activity is particularly important for children to help build and maintain strong bones and muscles, control weight, improve self-image and even foster healthy social and emotional development. Evidence is also showing strong links to school performance. Physical activity is a win for everyone,” said Virginia Elliott, Chair of the Governors’ Council on Fitness.
More than 15,000 children at 30 sites across the state took part in events Friday. WIBW's Drew Switzer also took part in the event at the governor's mansion.
According to the CDC report, 70 percent of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease in a population-based sample of 5 to 17 year olds. A 2004 study conducted by KDHE found that 16.7 percent of study participants in kindergarten through fifth grade and 14.6 percent of study participants in sixth through eighth grade were obese (Kansas Child Health Assessment and Monitoring Project 2004). At the same time, only 39.9 percent of study participants in kindergarten through fifth grade and 34.8 percent of study participants in sixth through eighth grade participated in the recommended amount of physical activity (60 minutes/day for 7 days per week).