[Hooping.org columnist Bonnie MacDougall discovers the benefits of hooping – for kids.]
With Michelle Obama and the Center for Disease Control on a mission to wipe out childhood obesity, it is no surprise that hula hooping has come into the limelight as one way to maintain health in kids. Childhood obesity has, after all, more than tripled in the past 30 years. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of youth struggling with obesity today already have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Something obviously has to be done. Whether or not kids want to exercise, however, most want to play. Hula hooping is a great way for kids to spin up some exercise without really knowing it. And while that may not be a news flash exactly, it has seemed to me, as a mother, that my 4-and 6-year olds have been gaining a plethora of other benefits and life skills from picking up the hoop as well. I knew how much the hoop had personally shaped and improved my life as an adult, but I was curious to know just how good is hooping for our kids, and what are all the benefits for them? So I decided to talk with several hoop professionals who are teaching hooping to children to find out. You might be surprised to learn that hooping helps children develop far more than just good exercise habits, especially when practiced with some regularity.