Play Every Day encourages children to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day for the best health. Many Alaska children aren’t getting that much.
Children and adults experiencing disabilities get even less regular activity . It can be particularly hard for children experiencing disabilities to be active because activities aren’t always adapted for them, or they cannot access the places where activities take place. Many Alaska adults with disabilities go long periods of time without physical activity and are obese:
- 30.8 percent of Alaska adults who experience disabilities report no physical activity in a 30-day period, as compared with 18 percent of Alaskans who do not experience disabilities. (Alaska BRFSS 2011-2013 combined)
- 39.2 percent of Alaska adults experiencing disabilities are obese, as compared with 24.3% of Alaskans who do not experience disabilities. (Alaska BRFSS 2011-2013 combined)
Children and adults benefit from physical activity . It builds strong muscles and bones, helps maintain a healthy weight, and reduces the risk of diabetes and other health problems. Activity also gives kids a way to play with friends. The Alaska Health and Disability Program , its partners and many programs throughout Alaska are working to make physical activity possible — and easier — for children with disabilities.
Adapting Physical Education Classes For Children Experiencing Disabilities
Pamela Skogstad, a Hope resident with multiple degrees in adaptive physical education, has a partnership with the Alaska Health and Disability Program to visit school districts throughout Alaska and train physical education teachers and teacher assistants how to modify physical activities to include all children . Since October 2013, Skogstad has trained hundreds of teachers and assistants in K-12 schools in the Alaska Gateway, Bethel, Kenai, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Valdez school districts. Skogstad will work with teachers in additional school districts in 2016. Skogstad’s workshops have improved physical education options for children throughout the state, including 500 students experiencing disabilities.
Building Parks That Include All Children
When building parks and playgrounds, the Municipality of Anchorage has followed the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). During recent years, however, the Parks and Recreation Department has put more effort into going above and beyond the ADA standards and building inclusive parks that make playground equipment accessible to all children. The department has built three inclusive playgrounds in Anchorage with plans to remodel three more.
- Parks for All — A group promoting safe and accessible parks for Alaskans of all abilities.
- Anchorage Park Foundation's Inclusive Play — Read more about the initiative in this new brochure.
Watch our new PSA showing kids of all abilities get out and play
Alaska Children at Play
Anna sit-skis in Girdwood with her mother. A recent study published by "Preventing Chronic Disease" shows a strong association between parents being physically active and the activity level of their children experiencing disabilities.
Children experiencing disabilities find more opportunities to play at inclusive parks. Logan plays at Cuddy Family Midtown Park —the first inclusive park built in Anchorage.
Corbin loves to get outside and splash in the puddles. Children of all abilities can benefit from physical activity. Look at the Teaming for Success report that shares many examples for adapting physical education for children with disabilities.
Claire likes to slide at the park. Several new parks are under development to include children of all abilities in Anchorage.