By: Chris Watts, Executive Director, National Fitness Foundation
As a new dad, my appreciation and perspective has changed on many things. From the super-human abilities of moms to the healing power of a good night sleep, what you value becomes more pronounced when responsibility is a necessity. My wife and I want nothing more than for our son, Mario James, to have every opportunity to strive towards his potential. I now understand why my parents spent their limited time & money to drive me to soccer practice and why I had Physical Education five days a week. As a kid, it was these opportunities that helped me understand the value of physical activity, and that ultimately, made a lasting impression on my likelihood to pursue a lifetime of health & fitness.
Unfortunately, many children in our country don’t have that reality. There are drastic differences in the physical activity opportunities available to kids of all backgrounds and abilities. The consequences of physical inactivity and unhealthy lifestyles limit our children, families, communities, and country to reach their full potential. We know that when youth are active they have better grades and classroom behavior, enhanced social development and are more likely to grow up to be productive and successful adults. The benefits of health & fitness are what every parent wants for their child and are too important not to prioritize. This is a future that everyone can agree on.
I’m proud that the National Fitness Foundation has the fortunate responsibility to make a difference in the lives of children across the country, with programs reaching over 3 million students in all 50 states. It’s essential that we focus our efforts on closing the equity gap to ensure that all children have the ability, confidence, and desire to be physically active for life. Improving lifelong fitness for all kids won’t be done overnight, but as I’m learning throughout my son’s development, progress is possible when you are willing to put your time and energy into what is going to make the most meaningful difference. For my wife and I, that is an active, healthy lifestyle for our son and for the Foundation, it’s helping every child prepare for a lifetime of health & fitness.