AHA: Kids Need More Physical Education

One solution to the obesity epidemic might be to hit it where it starts, childhood. According to HealthDay News the American Heart Association (AHA) is calling for efforts to promote more physical education in schools. Alan Mozes reports:
"Kids spend a lot of time in the schools for a lot of years, and in order for them to be as physically active as they need in order to be healthy, schools are going to have to take the initiative," said Russell Pate, chairman of the group that drafted the recommendations, and a professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia.

Fueling the concern, the AHA said, is the dramatically rising obesity rates among American children over the past two decades: About 16 percent of kids aged 6 to 19 are now considered overweight.

And a 2003 survey showed that more than one third of the students spend no more than 20 minutes a day on vigorous activity, while their time in front of the TV is up to three hours daily, the AHA added.
The AHA is putting significant pressure on schools to ensure children get enough exercise. HealthDay relays some of their reforms published in this week’s Circulation:
  • Schools to establish a daily minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity during school hours, and set up health education programs that encourage exercise and discourage sedentary behavior;
  • Schools to establish optional exercise programs outside school hours, provide extracurricular sports clubs, and promote safe walking and biking routes to school;
  • States to ensure that physical education (PE) programs are taught by certified and highly qualified teachers, and to hold schools accountable for the adequacy of such programs and for ensuring they are part of a core curriculum;
  • Child development centers and elementary schools to ensure at least 30 minutes of daily recess for exercise;
  • Higher education groups to establish programs that produce highly qualified PE and health education teachers.
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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Jude - August 17, 2006 2:54 PM

P.E. and health classes have generally been the bane of my family's existence. My daughter refused to take P.E. in high school because she hated the sports orientation of the classes, but I told her that if she kept her grades up, they'd find a way for her to graduate anyway (P.E. is required in our district). They let her join a health club, get the workouts initialed, and take a college-level nutrition class in place of health and P.E. To get out of P.E. when I was in junior high, I took band. To get out of P.E. in high school, I took a P.E. class during which everyone else played tennis while I did yoga under a tree. After that, I obtained a doctor's written excuse. My brother kept a log which showed that he walked around the track. Last year, I pulled my son out of school for the first quarter and homeschooled him to avoid P.E. I have no idea how we'll get around it when he has P.E. in the fourth quarter. I'll probably pull him out of school and homeschool him for a quarter.

It's not that P.E. is necessarily horrible, but it is if 1) You're not athletic; 2) You don't like sports; 3) You don't like to exercise around other humans; 4) Options aren't provided which instill a desire for lifelong fitness.

My daughter had a good P.E. teacher in elementary school who taught them useful life skills such as jump rope tricks and juggling. I took folk dancing and ballroom dancing in college, which seemed like the least onerous options, but I was still a complete klutz. Health classes are invariably boring (it's the human body, guys, spice it up a little)--only the dullest of the dull go into that field; and P.E. classes are torture chambers for the different. They have nothing to do with lifelong fitness and health.

Lisa - January 28, 2008 9:21 PM

Where do you people live? Have you met with the teachers, or have you sat in on a class? Have you gone to the school board to discuss a renovation of the Health and Physical Education program to make it more of a fitness based program rather than a sport related one? You possibly have influenced your children based on your negative experience in Phys. Ed. as a student yourself. As with anything in life, you have to focus on the positive. If your children felt that reading Shakespeare was not relevent to their life would you pull them out of that class? Could you not come up with reasons to find how the knowledge or experience could enrich their lives?
Our program is fitness based. The students evaluate their base levels of fitness at the beginning of each year, and then have the opportunity to work on improving those levels throughout the year. We incorporate lifetime activities and sports to engage the students in cooperative learning. This is critical in helping our children gain a level of fitness and give them tools so that they can maintain this fitness for the rest of their life.
Get involved in your schools program. Talk to the teachers about your concerns for your children. If you do not communicate with them, then you fail to give them the opportunity to change.

PE Zone - November 3, 2008 5:29 AM

The PE Zone
The association for Physical Education(UK) recently launched the BETA version of the PE Zone – www.pezone.co.uk , this platform offers a compilation of diverse resources, complemented by a PE professional networking tool and project management application. Through effective collaboration and networking this platform has the potential to become a one stop for all Physical Education professionals. All PE practitioners are encouraged to visit the site and begin using it, as this is a BETA version the development team are keen to hear from all users with suggestions and ideas, through this process it will be possible to ensure that the platform evolves into a robust tool for the profession. The team can be contacted at projectteam@pezone.co.uk

CPD Online Project

With the support of the TDA, afPE has initiated a new CPD online project and as part of this afPE aims to consult with a wide swath of PE professionals to ensure that the material is able to support effective delivery of national curriculum PE outcomes.

Draft material will be listed on the PE Zone and you are encouraged to register and offer comments and ideas for further development; the team aims to include wherever possible these in a manner that will ensure that the final product is as useful as possible to the widest cross section of users. Please visit the PE Zone (www.pezone.co.uk) and register on the site and make sure you tick the box to be part of the CPD Consultation team. This will then give you access to the private documentation area, where the first consultation material is available.

abby - November 17, 2009 8:30 PM

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