The American Horse Council submitted comments March 26 to the recently established task force on Childhood Obesity.
On Feb. 9, President Obama established a taskforce to create a national action plan to address the problem of childhood obesity. On March 16, the task force requested recommendations from the public on how childhood obesity can be combated.
The AHC submitted comments encouraging the task force to include equestrian activities in its effort to increase physical activity for children. The AHC pointed out that competing on horseback is a complex and demanding physical sport. Riders must develop muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance, and fine motor skills. Riding can also improve posture and cardiovascular health. Additionally, the AHC suggested that daily care of the horse, such as cleaning stalls, stacking hay, and grooming promotes physical fitness and riding for pleasure on a regular basis has many of the same benefits as competitive riding.
The AHC also noted many of those involved in equestrian activities are young people, and there are many equestrian organizations specifically geared toward youth or have youth programs.
The AHC specifically recommended the task force include equestrian activities in the scope of their deliberations concerning expanded opportunities for physical activity. To view the complete AHC comments, go to http://www.horsecouncil.org/2010comments-obesity.pdf.