While eating dinner today I noticed a group of 5 kids (between 10 - 15) riding their bikes down the street. Now, maybe it's just me not noticing, but I have not seen kids ride their bikes in quite a while. Maybe 1 here, 1 there... nothing like "back in my day" (10 years ago).
I rode to baseball practice, I rode to football practice, I rode or walked to school (weather permitting), and I rode to friend's houses. The change has been very evident over the last few years.
At first, I called it pokemon syndrome. Kids would sit at home and play pokemon on their gameboy, get their parents to buy them packs of the trading cards, have their parents drive them to their friends house to play with their gameboys and trading cards... all with minimal activity.
Now, it's more tailored towards computer games such as Grand Theft Auto (which kids shouldn't be playing, but that's another story). They sit at home and play games where they drive in cars, do a quick run, then get in another car. 80-90% of the game is inside a vehicle.
Over the last 10 years, more and more young kids are being brought up in the "Automobile or bust" world. However, I think that this rise in gas prices might actually be beneficial to the youth. With parents trying to conserve fuel whenever possible, that trip to "Jimmy's house" can now suddenly be done on a bicycle. Spending the night at Joe's? Put a change of clothes in your backpack and pedal on over.
Is there anywhere that I could track month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter, or annual statistics on child-hood obesity? I'd like to track this theory. Especially since as more kids become reliant on being a passenger, less schools are teaching proper cycling safety. I think it needs to be addressed.