By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Jeff Scott said the decision was an easy one.
"We want to try and do our part to help battle childhood obesity, which is at an all-time high," he said. "Plus, at a time when many families continue to struggle because of the economy, this program should help some kids have some fun who might not be able to otherwise."
Scott, whose family operates Scotties Fun Spot at 8000 Broadway, has become affiliated with a program featured on KidsSkateFree.com. The website makes two free roller skating passes available each week per child.
"And what is really great is that it is a year-round program," Scott said.
Local elementary school children have already started taking advantage of the program. Scotties has hosted two nights of youth-oriented skating.
"The key is to keep kids active in this day and age -- and away from so many video games," Scott said.
The American Heart Association says about one in every three U.S. kids and teens today are overweight or obese.
"That has tripled from about 50 years ago," Scott said.
Obesity causes a broad range of health and psychological problems, including high blood pressure, type 3 diabetes, low self-esteem, negative body image and depression.
"Roller skating and family centers across the nation have taken steps by signing up with the KidsSkateFree.com program, not only to fight the obesity battle but also offer kids a fun and rewarding way to stay active," Scott said.
Scott said studies show that roller skating provides "a complete aerobic workout and involves all of the body's muscles -- especially the heart." One hour of skating burns between 400 to 600 calories.
"We've signed up for this program for a year, but I'm sure we'll continue after that," Scott said. "We're thrilled to be able to offer families an affordable form of entertainment while also providing an exciting physical activity for kids."