EDITORIAL: Go outside and play!

York Dispatch

There is this story we Gen Xers and Baby Boomers like to tell about our youth.

You know, the youth in which there was no such thing as sitting around playing your video games or binge watching online streaming video.

That's when our parents shoved us out the door after breakfast and told us to come back when the street lights came on. We rode our bikes, played a pickup game of baseball or basketball, played hide-and-seek and ran around until we dropped.

We were barefoot in our version of the story, so we returned home with dirty feet, hands, and faces, exhausted and happy.

While that story may become more idealized with time, the basics are pretty true to life in the '60s, '70s and '80s for many kids. We did start watching more television in the 70s and 80s but we moved around more than kids are today.

It alarms us that, according to a report this past week by Dispatch education reporter Jessica Schladebeck, state data shows nearly half of Yorkers under the age of 18 are at an unhealthy weight.

We'd like to encourage parents to join with local organizations to encourage children to live healthier lifestyles.

Local school districts, WellSpan and the YMCA are taking the lead and coming up with unique ways to encourage students to eat well and exercise.

Dover Area School District has partnered with local growers, including Dillsburg Farmers Market and Brown's Orchards & Farm Market, to bring healthier options to the table. Dover also has partnered with WellSpan to launch a Market Basket of the Month program.

Lincoln Charter School participated in National Bike to School Day and has implemented many programs to promote a healthy lifestyle, including the Hope Street Garden and Learning Lab.

Additionally, York City is the beneficiary of several projects encouraging fitness and health, according to Cori Strathmeyer, the director of healthy living at the YMCA.

So parents, it's your turn. Stock your cupboards with healthy foods and encourage your kids to get outside.

In fact, get out there with them. If you're anything like us, you were much more active in your youth than you are now.

We understand that a commitment to a healthier lifestyle takes time, money and energy — and all three can be in short supply. But you have those community partners to help you.

Take advantage of the opportunity. You and your children will be healthier for it. And that equates to a high quality — and longer — life.