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FOR RELEASE: June 12, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

VERB Promotes the Longest Day of Play for Youth

Physical activity is “doing” something. Physical activity is fun. Those messages are part of the VERB Youth Media Initiative promoting health and fun through physical activities to tweens, kids ages 9 to 14. The VERB yearlong promotion, featuring "The Longest Day of Play" will kick-off on Saturday, June 21, and encourage tweens and youth-serving organizations to live an active lifestyle.

Youth can get involved with games and other activities on the interactive web site:
http://www.verbnow.com/. The web site will include an activity guide for youth directors that takes the longest day of the year and turns it into “The Longest Day of Play.” The VERB parent’s web page is http://www.verbparents.com/. It contains a link where adults may download the materials for free or order the materials online through their local Kinko’s for a reduced fee.

One of the largest health concerns today expressed by the U.S. Surgeon General’s report, is that the number of children and adolescents who are overweight and obese has almost tripled in the last 20 years. “We have to get involved helping children and youth form healthy lifestyle habits that involve physical activities that can keep them healthy and physically fit,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Leslie M. Beitsch.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Many children do not engage in regular physical activity and many of those who do are not learning “lifetime activity” in PE programs. “Lifetime activity” refers to those activities that children and youth can learn and enjoy throughout their lifespan (i.e. walking, swimming, jogging, skiing, hiking, bicycling, etc.).
  • Risk of obesity increases with duration of television viewing.
  • Physical activity reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
  • Physical activity does not have to be acquired all at one time to be effective. Ten to 15 minute “bursts” of activity throughout the day can add up.

The next major VERB promotional activities will be held in October 2003 and February 2004. For additional information, contact Sunshine Cowan with the state health department’s Child and Adolescent Health Division School Health Program at 405/ 271-4471, or your county health department.

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