Healthy Kids Are Smart Kids

How the Lam Research Hearts & Soles Run helps youth succeed in school.

Ask any teacher about indoor recess days. Ask any parent about those days when school is cancelled and the kids are cooped up inside due to extreme rain, snow, smoke or heat. Their stories of cabin fever will help you understand the importance of a school day built around physical activity. When kids get time to play and exercise, they come back to class ready to learn. When kids engage in play and sport, they practice key values including honesty, teamwork, and respect for themselves and others. Health and fitness programs help children excel in school and life.

Unfortunately, 76% of American children do not meet daily physical activity recommendations. As physical activity has declined, diets have deteriorated. Sugar consumption has risen to put sugary drinks as the largest calorie source in teens’ diets, only barely surpassing pizza. These trends should be no surprise when teenagers view an average of 406 ads for sugary drinks a year. As a result of inactivity and dietary trends, one in five children is categorized as obese, compared to one in 25 in 1970.

Fortunately, effective health and fitness education can help reverse these trends. If we invest in preventive measures, we can avoid spending an estimated $190 billion a year treating related health conditions.

All proceeds from this one-of-a kind community event support youth exercise and nutrition through high-quality in-school and after-school programming.

Since 2014, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation and the Santa Clara County Office of Education have teamed up to produce the Lam Research Heart & Soles Run, a 6K and 10K run through Historic Santa Clara University and inside the home of the San Jose Earthquakes, Avaya Stadium.

Beneficiaries include organizations that integrate health and fitness during and after school. These organizations create safe places on-campus and off-campus where kids can play and learn. School-based physical education, recess, and extracurricular physical activity all build healthy habits that improve health and academic performance. When coupled with developmental curriculum, physical education can hone social skills and build emotional intelligence.

For the emotional and physical well-being of our children, we need to create more opportunities for kids to play and exercise in safe environments–at schools, parks, community centers, and in their own homes. Get on the run to support health and fitness at the Lam Research Heart & Soles Run. Sign up today:


– Margaret Daoud-Gray, Senior Director, Education and Workforce Development at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group | March 8, 2019