When I was growing up I remember square pizzas and Salisbury steaks for lunch. I remember playing tackle football on the street with my neighbors and chasing after the ice cream man as soon as the sound of that unmistakable song came within earshot. I can still hear it in my head.
When I saw childhood obesity rates in America have jumped from 7% in 1980 to 18%, according to the Center for Disease Control, I was shocked, to say the least, and it made me think about what has changed that may be causing the problem. I know one thing for sure, we weren’t informed about proper nutrition and exercise as kids. I remember times I would eat a basket of french fries for lunch and take on a grueling, two-hour track workout without a problem.
I understand there are probably many levels to this issue, but one thing I know has changed is technology. It’s no secret kids are spending more time playing video games and interacting with friends on social media more than ever. The question now becomes: How do you use technology to solve this problem?
It seems the people at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry have come up with a solution. It comes in the form of a traveling exhibit called “Eat Well, Play Well”, and it’s made its way to the International Museum of Arts and Science in McAllen. The interactive, educational tool is aimed at educating both youth and adults about proper nutrition and exercise through games.
Kids can expect to be entertained while learning about different topics related to health and nutrition, which include; interactive games that teach children to think of food as fuel and how to make healthier meal choices are among some of the exhibit’s fun-filled learning tools. The closest thing I had in school that combined technology with nutritional education was trying to keep from getting dysentery playing The Oregon Trail.
Exercise also plays a major role in living a healthy lifestyle, and helping children understand the importance of physical fitness is crucial to the process. Strength and flexibility tests as well as more advanced topics like caloric intake and output at the exhibit make for a well-rounded health education program.
Technology may be one of the culprits, but it also gives us information at our fingertips. Sometimes, we need it to be fed to us in a way that’s easy to consume, and with the “Eat Well, Play Well” interactive exhibit, IMAS is doing just that.
The educational and entertaining exhibit will be at the International Museum of Arts & Science from January 30, 2016 to May 8, 2016 and is included in the price of admission to the museum or free to IMAS members. For more information about hours, group rates or to find out what else is going on at IMAS, visit imasonline.org or connect with them on Facebook @imasmcallen.