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PHI’s Network for a Healthy California Counters Kids’ Summertime Slide in Activity and Healthy Eating

Games With No Screens and Food That’s Not Fast

On Monday, more than 100 children in Redwood City sweated on the AstroTurf behind Hoover Community School.

“Who likes to play?” yelled Shannon Carrithers, a volunteer with the Network for a Healthy California — Children’s Power Play! Campaign, a statewide initiative aimed at children from low-income families. “I’m not talking about Nintendo. I’m talking about playing with a real ball.” With temperatures soaring over 90 degrees on the first day of summer day camp, health advocates armed with footballs and Hula Hoops were on hand in hopes of inspiring the children to “power up your summer!” Translation: Play actively at least an hour every day, eat more fruits and vegetables, and drink water instead of soda.

The campaign had come to Hoover, which is hosting one of the city’s summer camps, to spend an active afternoon with the 5-to-11-year-old campers in an effort to counter a summertime slide.

“Kids are twice as likely to gain weight over the summer as during the school year,” said Tuline Baykal, regional coordinator for the campaign in the Bay Area. “For many students, summer break is also a break from healthy habits fostered in the structured school environment.”

In 2010, nearly 30 percent of fifth graders in public schools in San Mateo County were at an unhealthy weight, according to data from the California Department of Education. About one-quarter of children and young adults, ages 5 to 20, in San Mateo are overweight, according to the county health department.

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Originally published by New York Times

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