The Natural Remedy For Childhood Obesity
Physical Exercise and Education – The Most Natural Remedy For Avoiding Childhood Obesity
In June earlier this year, “The Shape of the Nation Report: Status of Physical Education in the USA” was published by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the American Heart Association (AHA), showing that while the majority of states mandate Physical Education (PE), two material deficiencies exist:
(i) time requirements; and
(ii) exemptions/waivers; basically, loopholes!
Having regard to recent increasing attention paid to childhood obesity prevention initiatives, law-makers and those responsible for policy making at schools are able to and must be part of the solution by correcting these deficiencies in these policies.
Medications and techniques
In our present modern times, many are the medications and techniques available to minimize heart disease and cardiac concerns including not least the now affordable home blood pressure monitors but trying the time-tested basic approaches of old to avoid the issues arising in the first place would surely be a no-brainer. It seems utterly straight forward to a reasonable thinking person but by managing to side-step Physical Exercise and Education in the school curriculum, schools of the USA, or at least “the powers that be” who run the schools, are clearly demonstrating through their actions, or perhaps we should say lack of action, that they do not necessarily agree! Physical exercise is one of the most basic, proven routes to achieving good health and you will find few, if any, prepared to openly disagree with this common sense approach. Time will ultimately be the judge but it could well be shown that the medium to long term effects caused by lack of physical exercise and education will prove costly in terms of money as well as the human cost.
Vital component of the school day
It is perhaps worrying that an a vital component of the school day has been relegated to the bottom of the pile as a rising number of states fail to include quality Physical Education into elementary and middle schools. The 2010 Report shows a disturbing lack of progress in helping children build healthy bodies and healthy minds. in spite of gradual improvements towards making PE an obligatory part of the school curriculum, shamefully in the writer’s opinion, increasing numbers of states have been taking advantage of legal loopholes to avoid including PE the school year, and no progress has been made in requiring daily Physical Exercise, across all grades. What with childhood obesity rates climbing alongside rising cases of high blood pressure and cholesterol issues, all being factors implicated in heart disease and stroke, this is not time to be shying away from efforts to make physical education a priority in our nation’s schools.
Our research has come up with some interesting facts and although subject to further confirmation, the good news is that the majority of states require that students must take physical education. However, as alluded to earlier in this article, a major loophole exists in over half of all states.
Other key findings include:
— Only five states (Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Vermont) require Physical Education (PE) in every grade level.
— Forty-eight states have their own state standards for PE but only 34 states have a compliance requirement to operate to these standards.
— Only 19 states have a requirement for PE student assessment.
— Forty-three percent of states allow permit earning of credits in PE through online courses.
— Fewer states (14 as against 22 in 2006) include PE grades in the calculation of students’ grade point averages..
— Thirteen states employ students’ Body Mass Index and/or height and weight figures for guidance as to exercise requirements.
National Association for Sport and Physical Education
It has been recommended by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and The American Heart Association that 225 minutes per week of instructional physical education be provided by schools for middle and high school students and 150 minutes per week for elementary school children. throughout the school year.
American Heart Association
The American Heart Association strongly supports state and federal legislation to make PE an integral part of the curriculum and measures to strengthen school wellness policies. Introduced in February 2010, The First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign also provides a solid foundation for improving quality Physical Exercise and Education as children become more active during the day. Healthy children learn more effectively and achieve more academically according to various research projects. An uphill battle is faced by too many children to be more physically active with the need for more opportunities before and after school to get their heart pumping. We must do more to reverse this trend by urging states and local school districts to step up their requirements to improve children’s health and their outlook for a long, heart-healthy life.
The “Let’s Move” ambitious headline is “America’s Move to Raise a Healthier generation of Kids” and that really sums up the issue in one sentence. Check back at this site soon when we will be presenting an article on the “Let’s Move” project. Given the patronage of the President and his First Lady, there is cause for optimism.