Dear Parents and Teachers,
Excerpted from The Busy Body Book by Lizzy Rockwell; illustrated by the author Copyright © 2004 by Lizzy Rockwell; illustrated by the author. Excerpted by permission of Knopf Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
It's easy to see that children love to move. How many times have you had to ask a child to sit still—in the car, at school, or at the dining table? Being physically active makes kids feel good. They breathe deeply, filling their lungs with energizing oxygen. They use their muscles, releasing mood-improving endorphins. Regular physical activity helps children eat well, sleep well, perform well in school, resist illness, and grow strong, cheerful, and confident.
The good news is that being physically active is natural for children. The bad news is that today many children are not active enough to stay healthy. The number of seriously overweight children in the United States has tripled in the past twenty years. Obesity is linked to other serious health risks such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and depression. While diet plays a major role in our children's health, physical activity is an equally important factor. Surveys show that as many as half of our children do not get even a moderate (30 minutes a day, five days a week) amount of exercise. Yet they now spend an average of four hours a day in front of the TV or computer. Even children who do not gain weight easily are often not active enough to keep their heart, lungs, bones, and muscles in good condition. By giving our children education and positive guidance, we take the first steps in breaking this pattern.
When children know about the remarkable potential of their bodies, they want to test it out. When they see others engaged in activities that look fun and stimulating, they want to join in. As parents and educators, we can set examples of healthy living by making changes in our own habits. Small lifestyle adjustments can communicate that fitness is a priority. We can walk to school or the store, set limits on sedentary activities, take the stairs instead of the elevator. In The Busy Body Book, I have chosen friendly, encouraging words and images that I hope will inspire children to make their own good choices. This book is for the competitive athlete as well as the contemplative artist. I hope that all children will find themselves in its pages, feel proud of their bodies, and be inspired to move. Physical activity is natural for all of us. So let's get busy and have some fun!
With warm wishes,