What to do about childhood obesity? Lead by example. One group, The Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreations and Dance (PSAHPERD) is doing just that by encouraging active healthy lifestyles for families in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. PSAHPERD is made up primarily of educators in Pennsylvania with the goal to raise awareness, legislative changes and funds for childhood obesity in order to promote lifelong wellness for education programs. As members of the health and physical education profession, these educators understand the long term implications of childhood obesity on lifelong wellness. They stress that the K-12 years are an important time to establish good attitudes and behavior regarding personal health. Physical inactivity and poor nutrition are two of six risk factors identified by the CDC which lead to premature death but are preventable.This summer, the organization coordinated a three-day bicycle event. Aptly named “Capital to Capitol- ONE Ride,” the purpose of the bike ride which extended from Harrisburg, PA (the Commonwealth Capital) to the Capitol in Washington, D.C. was primarily to raise awareness of the impact of childhood obesity on lifetime wellness and advocate for positive legislative attention toward childhood obesity. Funds garnered from the event were earmarked for educational programs within schools.
Exercise and Sport Science professors, Del Engstrom and Laura Borsdorf participated in the premier PSAHPERD bike event that ended on Capitol Hill, where the group met with Congressman Jim Gerlach, a strong physical education advocate and requested he pass on the message of taking a preventative approach when confronting this issue to his fellow lawmakers.
Dr. Engstrom and Dr. Borsdorf take an active leadership role in wellness, both on campus and off campus. Their passion for wellness and the importance of developing a lifelong commitment to healthy choices, including healthy eating, physical activity and balance in life is always apparent to the student body and part of the excitement that surrounds the Exercise and Sports Science Department.