The Importance Of PE

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girlhulaFrom Your Health Journal…..”Tampa Bay Online did a wonderful job expressing the importance of physical education in the schools. Please visit their web site to read the complete article, but I just wanted to promote it here. PE is not the same as it was 25 years ago, where balls were just thrown out and kids play unsupervised. PE is preparing children for lifelong health, educating on the importance of healthy lifestyle, helping to build and form habits that carry into adulthood. Fitness and health skills are taught on a regular basis, and strong curriculum’s/foundations are carefully developed and followed by each educator. Sadly, there is not enough PE in the schools to help combat the obesity epidemic facing the youth of the world. Please support your local PE programs, and visit the TBO web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

For decades now, our country has been at war over the battle of the bulge. Healthy eating and physical activity have become less of a priority and more of a chore. Our busy day-to-day lifestyles have left us fat, lazy and unmotivated. Individuals such as myself are very irritated with the growing rate of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases associated with our diet and exercise regimen.

Thankfully, we have evidence-based research that shows increasing physical activity in our schools can improve the health of our young.

Currently in Hillsborough County, elementary children are required to do at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, in blocks of no less than 30 minutes a day. Because of budget cuts, physical education teachers are becoming a rare species. Regular classroom teachers are left with the burden of trying to come up with creative ideas to teach physical education.

Some schools think PE is standing up from your desk and stretching for 10 minutes. What is the definition of physical education? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, physical education is the education in the care and development of the human body, stressing athletics and including hygiene. Because of the declining numbers in PE teachers, classroom teachers are often left to fill PE requirements.

Physical education in our schools has become less of a priority because of academic standards in other subjects. We must not forget the importance of physical education.

Physical education has been proven time and time again to lower childhood obesity and diabetes. One in five children is overweight or obese by the age of 6! Does that not scare you? Here is something else that is alarming: Type 2 diabetes, normally found in adults, is now being found in our children. This is a grim milestone for a disease that used to be rare in children and is now increasing because of childhood obesity. Diabetes and obesity can cause heart attacks, blindness, stroke, amputations and kidney failure. All of this can be avoided with simple diet and exercise.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Physical Education Infographic

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The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) is happy to introduce their first in a series of infographics on the status of physical education in the U.S. Please share with others by heading to NASPE’s website to download and print the PDF version, as well as to directly upload the jpg image to share via social media. Be sure to read the 2012 Shape of the Nation Report with the latest on physical education waivers, fitness assessments, physical activity, recess and much more.

For more information…..Click here Visit the site, as AAHPERD and NASPE would like you to share the graphic on your social media.


Physical Education Requirement At 4-Year Universities At All-Time Low

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From Your Health Journal…..”As I mentioned yesterday, when someone sends me a worthy press release, I will publish it (or parts of it) here. I did receive one today about physical education requirements dropping at colleges and universities. Almost every U.S. college student was required to take physical education and exercise requirements in the 1920s; today, that number is at an all-time low of 39 percent. With obesity on the rise, and young adults showing risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers, weaker bones, and other health concerns, this is alarming. Students at colleges do need some form of physical activity in their busy schedules. The median physical education budget for schools in the United States is only $764 per school year in K-12 and 61 percent of physical education teachers report an annual budget of less than $1,000. Yet, obesity will cost the United States $344 billion in medical-related expenses by 2018, about 21 percent of the nation’s health-care spending. Please visit the link provided below to read the complete press release.”

From the article…..

Even as policy makers and health experts point to an increased need for exercise, more than half of four-year colleges and universities in the United States have dropped physical education requirements compared to historic levels.

Almost every U.S. college student was required to take physical education and exercise requirements in the 1920s; today, that number is at an all-time low of 39 percent, according to a new study.

Oregon State University researcher Brad Cardinal, lead author of the study, examined data from 354 randomly selected four-year universities and colleges going back to 1920, a peak year with 97 percent of students required to take physical education. The results are in the current issue of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.

“We see more and more evidence about the benefit of physical activity, not just to our bodies, but to our minds, yet educational institutions are not embracing their own research,” Cardinal said. “It is alarming to see four-year institutions following the path that K-12 schools have already gone down, eliminating exercise as part of the curriculum even as obesity rates climb.”

More than 34 percent of adolescents and teens ages 12-19 are overweight and more than 17 percent are obese. These rates have roughly doubled since 1980, according to the 2012 Shape of the Nation Report.

Cardinal, who is a professor of exercise and sport science at OSU and a national expert on the benefits of physical activity, said research shows that exercise not only improves human health, but it also improves cognitive performance.

“Brain scans have shown that physical activity improves the area of the brain involved with high-level decision making,” he said. “In addition, we know employers often are concerned about employee health, in part because physically active employees attend work more and tend to perform better.”

Cardinal’s own university, Oregon State University, still requires physical education courses. He said requiring physical education sets the tone for students to understand that being active and healthy is as important as reading, writing and math. Cardinal believes even requiring just one or two exercise courses can at least jump-start a student into thinking about a healthy lifestyle as part of their overall college experience and later life.

“There is a remarkable disconnect in that we fund research as a nation showing that physical activity is absolutely critical to academic and life success, but we aren’t applying that knowledge to our own students,” he said.

To read the complete article…..Click here

How Far Has Physical Education Come In The Past 20 Years?

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From Your Health Journal…..”As I mentioned earlier today, I love the Education Week web site, as they have great / informative articles, and I always promote their site when I can, so please visit their web page (link provided below) to get some good ‘reads’ in. As many of you know, I am also a PE teacher, and always think it is imperative to discuss its importance in school. PE not only teaches children about healthy lifestyle, it enhances cognitive skills, social skills, and gives children a much needed break from academics. PE today is much more than just throwing out balls and giving students free play, it is a health related subject that prepares children for a future of good health. Sadly, it is just being cut back too much to be totally effective, along with cutbacks in recess. The demands after school prevent many children from getting any physical activity once they get home. Please visit the Education Week web site to read this complete article.”

From the article…..

In terms of health benefits, how far has physical education progressed over the past 20 years?

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the 1991 paper, “Physical Education’s Role in Public Health,” the paper’s original authors and a few colleagues looked back in the most recent issue of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport to see what still needs improvement.

In the 1991 paper, the authors encouraged physical educators to “adopt a new role and pursue a public-health goal for physical education.” This mainly entailed providing physical activity during phys. ed. class and teaching students how to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout their lives.

Much like the progress of Title IX, the authors find a half-full, half-empty tale of progress.

On the bright side, they praise recommendations and guidelines issued by many national health organizations, including the American Heart Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, regarding the promotion of physical activity. The authors also recognize the push toward more physical activity in phys. ed. classes, both for health reasons and in an attempt to improve academic performance.

The federal government earns some praise in the report, too, for having increased support of physical education over the past two decades. Specifically, the authors single out the Carol M. White Physical Education Program and Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! program.

There’s place for concern, however. The authors criticize No Child Left Behind for “creat[ing] an environment in which physical education, music, and art are viewed as ‘nonessential,’ ” leading to a reduction in physical education time in many schools over the past 10 years.

They also note that there’s still no widespread measure for evaluating the quality of physical education programs, despite standards developed by the National Association of Sport and Physical Education, the American Heart Association, and the Institute of Medicine. All the existing standards leave something to be desired, the authors suggest.

To read the full article…..Click here

PE Class Changes In Alabama Stress Student Health

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From Your Health Journal…..”I can always count on the publication SF Gate to have some quality articles on health or wellness. I encourage all of you to visit their page (link below) to read some quality article. Today’s article review discusses Alabama, and it change to a new fitness assessment test. The prevalence rate of obesity in Alabama is higher than the rest of the nation, for both adults and children, so the state decided to move to a newer test, replacing the President’s Challenges test. Though the individual students’ results will be treated as confidential information, both parents and students will receive the assessment results. The PE teachers will report the results annually, which should eventually allow for comparisons to see whether the fitter children perhaps have higher test scores. PE teachers received training in how to test the kids, but videos that demonstrate the exercises used in the assessment are on the state Department of Education’s website. Articles like this stress the importance PE plays in the schools not only for health or fitness, but for improving cognitive skills and self esteem of children. With the obesity rates so high in the United States, it is important to support your local PE department, as well as trying to get the children daily, quality PE each day. Please visit the SF Gate page to read more.”

From the article…..

Alabama’s public school students are taking part in a new physical fitness assessment this year, replacing a series of tests that had not been updated since their parents were in school.

Citing a need to refocus on the fitness of the state’s children, the new Alabama Physical Fitness Assessment rolled out this fall in public schools. The tests are required for all students in grades 2 through 12 and replace the old President’s Challenge Fitness Test, which was adopted in 1984.

The new assessment has been in the works since 2010, when federal stimulus money started flowing to the states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded grant money to the Alabama Department of Public Health, which used the money to partner with the Alabama State Department of Education to try to improve the quality of physical education in the state, said Laurie Eldridge-Auffant, public health education manager for the ADPH.

“Our prevalence rate of obesity is higher than the rest of the nation, for both adults and children,” Eldridge-Auffant said. “We have some other indicators that let us know we have many chronic diseases that are above the national average.”

Though the individual students’ results will be treated as confidential information, both parents and students will receive the assessment results. The PE teachers will report the results annually, which should eventually allow for comparisons to see whether the fitter children perhaps have higher test scores.

“We’re excited about the potential data down the road,” Eldridge-Auffant said. “We know from the research that the kids who are more physically fit and more physically active have better academic scores.”

But those comparisons will be some time away. For now, the teachers are finishing up the pre-testing on the kids. Post-testing will begin in March.

The new assessment measures four areas: Aerobic cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, abdominal strength and endurance and flexibility.

PE teachers received training in how to test the kids, but videos that demonstrate the exercises used in the assessment are on the state Department of Education’s website. The exercises include a partial curl-up (like an abdominal crunch); a timed one-mile run/walk test (the child can walk the whole way if necessary); and a 90-degree push-up (as many as the child can do in two minutes.)

To read the full article…..Click here

Stop Mocking The Gym Majors

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From Your Health Journal…..”A great story today on Yahoo about those who major in physical eduction or kinesiology. Many years ago, these majors were the butt of jokes on campus and on the workforce, but now, it appears it is a popular choice for many – as some have lucrative positions in the fitness industry, and can always fall back on possibly becoming a PE teacher. Of course, becoming a PE teacher has always been an honorable option. But for kinesiology majors these days, a potentially better-paying and higher-visibility choice is fitness training, a profession so popular that lawyers, dentists and English teachers are ditching those careers to become drill instructors at the gym. I strongly recommend your visiting the Yahoo link provided at the bottom of this page to view the full article.”

From the article…..

Once the Butt of Jokes, College Athletes Who Study Kinesiology Are Landing Plum Jobs

While playing quarterback for William & Mary College, Todd Durkin obtained a degree in health and physical education. In other words, he studied gym.

Don’t laugh. That much-maligned gym degree is one of the hottest sheepskins on campus today, and Durkin helps to illustrate why. After the fizzling of his lifelong dream to play pro football, Durkin used his phys-ed degree to fashion a career in fitness training—a practice that now includes a Pro Bowl-worthy list of NFL clients: Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson and Aaron Rodgers, among others.

“Todd is a great motivator and having played ball he understands exactly what it is you’re training to do,” said the veteran NFL tight end Justin Peelle.

The college sports athlete who studies exercise has long been the butt of jokes and the target for critics who lament the fact that most athletic scholarships are wasted by people who are more interested in making the pros than getting a respectable education.

But increasingly that view underestimates the commercial and academic value of exercise studies. As the population skews older—and in many cases fatter—there’s a growing demand for fitness trainers, physical therapists, pre-med students and scholars who study the science of obesity, movement and performance. As a result, few majors on college campuses are growing faster than kinesiology, as the science of exercise is known.

In this new world, the jocks are no longer at odds with nerds. They are the nerds. In Auburn University’s fast-growing kinesiology department, 18 faculty members are former athletes, according to department head Mary Rudisill, a former swimmer.

Former college track star Matthew Miller, who calls himself the second-fastest faculty member in Auburn’s kinesiology department, runs a performance and “psychophysiology” lab that seeks to “uncover neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychomotor performance phenomena frequently reported in the sport and exercise psychology literature,” according to the lab’s website.

At the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology, freshman applications rose 30% last year, and for the last five years student athletes have represented about 20% of the school’s population—a percentage more than five times greater than the ratio of student athletes to the student body at large.

To read the full article…..Click here