4.9.07

Servant Leadership? Drop the Chalupa!

My new home city (Washington DC) has recently garnered the dubious distinction of having the number one obesity rate for youth in the USA.

Click here for one of many articles detailing our gluttonous ways.

Good for us DC...taxation without representation and now some kids with too much to eat (or not the right food to eat, certainly) and not enough exercise.

I wouldn't have believed this possible in the nation's capital (bad naive idealist! bad! bad!!), until I stood on the stairs of one of our facility buildings and watched children gather in front of a boarded up school building. In groups of about 20, the students finished snacks and climbed the few stairs to cushy seats on coach buses.

I learned from a coworker and some residents that they've been bused to and from a local college to attend classes for three years while their beautiful old building sits "under construction."

They leave this neighborhood each day, and instead of walking to school or riding bikes, many are dropped off or take a Metro bus to this coach bus stop.

I wonder what sort of incentives we'd have to offer them to take a more active means of transportation to and from school. What sorts of public works initiatives would we have to enact to make the streets safe for kids to walk? skip? Ride bikes and scooters? What awareness campaigns would we have to develop to engage parents and allay concerns?

With the elimination of recess in many districts, and the shortened physical education times, the desire to do something new may hold its own attraction.

At least that's what finally tipped my coworkers and I off the couch...

After many pithy comments from the staff peanut gallery, some of us wondered why we weren't getting certain parts of our anatomy moving more often.

A few of us started cycling regularly (I finished my first 25-miler on Saturday), and two other colleagues are going running tomorrow morning before work.

The first steps toward higher levels of fitness are faltering, but they are movement forward. With almost 23 percent of the District's children overweight, any efforts toward improving even basic fitness levels (1/2 mile of walking per day) would be a step in the right direction.

As servant leaders in healthcare settings, how can we provide additional examples of paths to increased wellness?

Can we partner with area schools to provide 'safe' places to walk? Can we send teams of volunteer staff members to lead recess hours? And pay them for this time?

Do you have any innovative suggestions for getting your people, your communities, moving? Bodies and minds work better in tandem...

1 comment:

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