Since 2008, 80% of the schools in the USA have experienced funding cuts.  These cuts have hit the arts, music and P.E. directly. 

Many kids throughout the USA don’t have access to art, drama, music, or physical education–programs that we know make a dramatic impact on the lives of kids. Play2Health was developed to assist families become active with fun games, family fitness and more.

Lead by 9x Ironman Champion Meredith Kessler and Clinical Dietitian Courtney Calo we recognized the need to help families get their children motivated in fun, active fitness and games that will establish a lifelong love of fitness and healthy habits.  That is the mission of Play2Health.

There is a tremendous amount of press on childhood obesity, kids with Type 2 Diabetes and other related disease states that result from inactivity, however despite the noise level not many are actively doing anything to kids physically active, moving and having fun.

Just imagine the impact we, collectively can have working together to stop the rise in childhood obesity, and related disease states.  Lower inactivity levels would result in a healthier country – we all benefit.  Productivity would increase, people will be happier and healthier.  A total win-win for all.

Many parents assume that their kids are physically active at school via recess and physical education (PE); however, since 2008 with the start of the last recession many schools have eliminated recess and reduced physical education for kids of all ages.

As a result:

  • According to the Institute of Medicine, 44% of schools across the United States have no Physical Education Classes.
  • Childhood inactivity was recently voted the #1 concern of parents. Obesity was viewed as the #1 health concern for Americans.
    • Recently, the WHO released a paper that illustrates that over 41 million children age 5 and under are overweight or obese: https://t.co/MyV9LeFb8o
  • There are 10 million totally sedentary children in America and 33 million children who are not active to healthy standards.
  • An estimated one in three children ages 2 to 19 are either overweight or clinically obese, putting them at a greater risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
  • Research clearly shows an inactive child does not perform as well academically as a more active child.
  • Imaging tests of obese children’s hearts done by the Geisinger Health System, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association showed signs of heart disease, including kids as young as 8 years old.
      • Obese children had 27% more muscle mass in the left ventricle of their hearts and 12% thicker heart muscles – both signs of heart disease – compared to normal weight children.
      • 40% of the obese children were considered “high-risk” because of problems with thickened muscle in the heart as well as impaired pumping ability

img1 300x147 - How Play2Health WorksWe at Play2Health have a mission to get kids and families engaged in active play and help schools bring back much needed programs. 

Many kids throughout the USA don’t have access to art, drama, music, or physical education–programs that we know make a dramatic impact on the lives of kids.  Since 2008, 80% of the schools in the USA have experienced funding cuts.  These cuts have hit the arts, music and PE directly. 

How Play2Health Works?

  • Parents love it because their children and the family want to stay active and engaged. Play2Health guides families through fun activities to do together, building strong family bonds and healthy habits at the same time. Play2Health is a website and Pop Up Play Day event series across the USA designed to motivate your kids to become active and engaged in fun physical activities that aids their cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development. 
    • Play2Health offers  active fun games, kids fitness games, family fitness, sports training and exercise that are fun to do.  We are committed to helping families build strong bonds and healthy habits at the same time.
  • All at an economical price of $22.00 per attendess to help your kids develop and grow.

Play2Health Scrren Scrape 300x218 - How Play2Health WorksThe Importance of Play:

Play is essential to development  it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.  With our over-scheduled and regimented lives, we must make play a priority in our days.

Play is a necessity for healthy brain development, for cognitive, physical, social and emotional well being of kids.  Play is where we all learn self-control, empathy skills and coping mechanisms.  Without such, clinical studies are showing that kids grow into young adults with higher rates of depression, anxiety and in some cases, suicides.

Play offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage with their children.

Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced for many kids.

There are a variety of factors that have reduced play, including a hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure, and increased attention to academics achievement, teaching to standardized tests as a result of the No Child left Behind legislation and Common Core.  The results are recess, child-centered play and physical education classes has been reduced or in many chases eliminated.

Early care and school programs may provide the only opportunity left or some children to have physical activity or outdoor play.

Many economically disadvantaged children are priced out of sports leagues and many of the programs that we grew up with have been eliminated due to funding cuts.

Kids are over scheduled and the rise of easy to use technology as a babysitter is having a very adverse effect on society as a whole.

The rise in screen time have led to the rise of a sedentary lifestyle for kids.  In 1982, the childhood obesity prevalence in the United States was actually less than 4 percent. By 2004, that number had grown to about 30 percent.

We as a society need to make play a priority.

The Role Play has in Neurological Growth and Development

Play is a central part of neurological growth and development.  It is a very important way that children build complex, skilled, responsive, socially adept and cognitively flexible brains and social skills.  Self-regulation or self-control is learned through play.

The time spent playing make-believe actually helped children develop a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function has a number of different elements, but a central one is the ability to self-regulate. Kids with good self-regulation are able to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline.

Play has changed dramatically, the play that kids engage in today does not help them build executive function skills. Kids spend more time in front of televisions and video games. When they aren’t in front of a screen, they often spend their time in leagues and lessons — activities parents invest in because they believe that they will help their children to excel and achieve.

Poor executive function is associated with high dropout rates, drug use and crime. In fact, good executive function is a better predictor of success in school than a child’s IQ. Children who are able to manage their feelings and pay attention are better able to learn.

Self-regulation is a critical skill for kids. Unfortunately, most kids today spend a lot of time doing three things: watching television, playing video games and taking lessons. None of these activities promote self-regulation, at best they add to childhood obesity. Today kids spend approximately 7.5 hours a day in ‘screen time’ between tablets, computer, TV and electronic games.

We as parents owe it to our children to get them out and engaged in play.

Skills Learned through Play

  • Play builds the imagination
  • Play promotes social skills
  • Play advances physical development
  • Play helps kids work through emotions
  • Self-control is a tough skill to learn, and play helps kids practice it as well as play out the frustration it creates.
  • Play develops a child’s ability for empathy or the ability to walk in anothers shoes.
  • Play supports academic-related and physical skills and development.

Play is as fundamental as any other aspect of life, including eating, sleeping and dreams.  Kids and adults need time each day to play!

How much do your kids play each day?