After recently watching HBO’s “Weight of a Nation”, I started thinking a lot about the epidemic of Childhood Obesity. As an obese child that grew into an even more obese adult, it’s hard to separate my own experience from that of the nation as a whole. Privileged and white, I never had to deal with McDonalds being the only available food option because of it’s cost. I have every opportunity to be healthy, but I wasn’t and that was rare in 1993. Looking back now I can only pinpoint one major factor as to why obesity was so rare when I was a child, and now, it is literally killing our nation’s youth.
The Skip-It was discontinued in 2009 and I don’t want to directly blame the childhood obesity epidemic on it’s halt in production, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
A staple of Nickelodeon broadcasting throughout the late 80s and 90s, the Skip-It was essentially a horizontal jump rope in which the excited child would swing around their leg and try to jump over the large ball attached on its end. And the greatest part of all…well…I’ll let the commercial tell you.
The greatest part of all, the COUNTER IS ON THE BALL.
If only the kids of the new millennium would know the joy of harshly knocking your ankle against a hard piece of plastic spinning around your 9 year old limbs as fast as possible. If only they knew the sheer glee of feeling the harsh, concrete ridden surface of the once-smooth skip-it ball counter scrape your fingers when you pick it up to check the counts.
This exercise themed toy culture has gone by the wayside and as a result our children have become less active.
The lack of physicality involved is damning.