5 Ways Regular Exercise Benefits College Students

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By Tess Pajaron

teensThere is an array of ways that exercise is beneficial, and this is especially true when it comes to college students. And while it can be difficult to find time for exercise between classes and homework, it is well-worth the effort. Here are 5 ways regular exercise benefits college students.

Improves Memory

Research has shown that memory begins to decrease in people as young as twenty years old, and this progresses as we age. However, it is well-known that exercise can help improve memory and even prevent memory loss. It is for this reason that college students should fit exercise into their schedule. After all, when you are trying to learn new disciplines you will need to make sure that your memory is functioning at the highest level possible.

Increases Focus

Maintaining focus during class is vital to the learning process and without the proper level of attention grades can slip. Fortunately for college students, exercising regularly will help the brain to stay more focused. In fact, studies have shown that even light exercise, such as a twenty-minute bike ride, can actually help relieve the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and similar learning disabilities. This goes a long way in showing how powerful exercise can be in staying focused.

Improves Mood

When you are in college, having the proper mindset is crucial to success and exercising can actually improve one’s mood. There are certain chemicals that are produced by the brain that affect our mood, such as dopamine and serotonin, and exercising helps to promote the release of these chemicals, which leads to an improved mood. And while maintaining high grades is important in college, so is meeting new friends, and there is a greater chance of being sociable when your mood is right.

Relieves Stress

It is no secret that stress can cause us to lose focus on the things that are most important to us, and for college students stress can be especially problematic. Similar to improving mood, exercise will reduce the amount of stress that the brain perceives by releasing natural stress fighting chemicals, which can help ease the mind. If you are attending a university and feel that you are becoming stressed for any reason, consider going for a short jog or a bicycle ride, and you will certainly feel stress levels begin to subside.

Promotes Brain Development

There is perhaps no greater benefit of exercise for college students than its ability to promote brain cell development. Exercise is noted for increasing the number of neurons, or braincells, and this bodes well for those in an environment where higher learning is taking place. Not only does exercise help in brain development, but it also increases the flexibility at which our brains access information. In laboratory tests on mice, this flexibility has been shown to improve the ability of mice in solving mazes and other cognitive tests.

College is often regarded as one of the most important steps in a person’s life, and therefore it is necessary that students are able to function at the highest level possible. To increase the potential of students while in college it is recommended that they exercise regularly. Exercising will help to increase the level of focus within the brain, while at the same time, drastically improving one’s mood. In addition, staying active will lower the amount of stress that the brain perceives and this is vital in limiting external distractions. Furthermore, exercise promotes brain development by allowing for added flexibility and thus improving cognitive processes. If you are a student in college, keep in mind these 5 ways that regular exercise will be beneficial.

– With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.

Helpful Information For First-Time College Students

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your comments below…..

universityLearn about common health issues facing first-time college students and proactive steps you can take from a Mercy Health expert in new video. Video becomes available on social media this week.

Mercy Health (formerly Catholic Health Partners) – a Catholic healthcare ministry serving Ohio and Kentucky – has devoted the eighth of its monthly Mercy Health: Helping You Be Well videos to preparing first-time college students for healthy school careers. More than one in 10 college students suffer from anxiety-related problems.

In a concise video on Mercy Health’s YouTube channel, a Mercy Health expert addresses these questions:

* What kinds of health issues do college freshmen face?

* As parents, what can we do to help prevent these health issues and be supportive?

* What are the warning signs?

* What are some ways a student can get mentally ready for college?

An infographic with skin cancer facts is available at http://bit.ly/1IoTgic. Mercy Health is also sharing helpful information throughout the month on its social media channels.

Mercy Health: Helping You Be Well, which spotlights key health issues and tips for healthy living, debuted in December. The videos feature Mercy Health physician experts who are committed to making lives better – mind, body and spirit.

About Mercy Health

Mercy Health (formerly Catholic Health Partners) is the largest health system in Ohio and one of the largest health systems in the United States, employing more than 32,000 employees in Ohio and Kentucky. With $6 billion in assets, Mercy Health operates about 450 health facilities, including 23 hospitals, eight senior living communities, five hospice programs and seven home health agencies. Truven Health Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters) consistently rates Mercy Health among the nation’s top health systems for clinical quality and efficiency. In keeping with its mission, Mercy Health provides about $1 million per day in community benefit services. Mercy Health’s bonds are rated AA- by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, and A1 by Moody’s. Mercy Health also partners with HealthSpan which provides health maintenance organization and insurance coverage. Mercy Health is a founding member of Health Innovations Ohio, which focuses on providing health services that result in higher quality, better health and greater value. For more information, visit http://www.mercy.com or connect with Mercy Health on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter (@LivingMercyHlth).

Interesting Product – Bouncy Bands Help Students With Test Anxiety

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Article courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts below on this product. Do you think it will help some kids?

groupkids38% of students have moderate to severe test anxiety. 86% of students surveyed said that a new product called “Bouncy Bands” helped them feel calmer when they take tests; 87% of teachers said kids focused better.

Kids who get stressed-out taking tests can bounce and wiggle their way out of anxiety, according to new surveys.

Out of more than 400 students surveyed nationwide 86% reported that a new product called Bouncy Bands helped them feel calmer when they took tests. And their teachers agreed. From over 100 teachers surveyed, 92% said Bouncy Bands helped students release energy and 88% said that movement tended to give students sharper focus.

Bouncy Bands strap between the legs of chairs or desks allowing students to bounce their feet while they work and release some of their extra energy. They’re a boon to students at any time of year but, with the end of school year approaching, parents and teachers are looking for any resource to help their children perform better, especially those who suffer from test anxiety.

This is important, says the product’s creator, elementary school counselor, Scott Ertl, because the American Test Anxieties Association reports that a majority of students are more stressed by tests and by schoolwork than by anything else in their lives. About 20% of students have high test anxiety, making this the most prevalent scholastic impairment in schools. Another 18% are troubled with moderate test anxiety.

Ertl created Bouncy Bands in 2014 for his own students and since then they have already been enjoyed by more than 15,000 kids across the globe.

Ertl said, “Bouncy Bands help kids relieve their extra energy, anxiety, stress, and hyperactivity while they sit at their desks. Kids love being able to move instead of having to sit still for five to six hours every day. I like to say they can ‘wiggle while they work.’ Bouncy Bands enable high energy kids to fidget without distracting others. They discreetly soothe student anxiety, frustration, and hyperactivity and increase their attention so they can spend more time on tasks.”

Made from a heavy-duty rubber rope that is stronger than bungee cord, inner tubes, and stretch bands, Bouncy Bands have been featured by Creative Child Magazine as a 2014 Product of the Year and named as a “Great Find” by AblePlay.

Over 120 teachers throughout the U.S. have been fully funded through DonorsChoose.org for every student in their class to receive a free Bouncy Band. Teachers who received grants for Bouncy Bands have been singing their praises.

Mike Adams, of R.H. Gettys Middle School, Easley, South Carolina, said, “The students are rushing to my classroom every day now in order to get a desk with the bouncy bands. Their focus has increased tremendously.”

Renee Drake, fourth grade teacher at South Columbia Elementary School, Augusta, Georgia, said, “These bands have truly impacted my room in the best way possible. The noises in the room have gone down significantly because the students are able to silently bounce their feet and fidget without tapping or bouncing pencils on their desks.”

Colleen Kennedy, school counselor at Camp Ellen Elementary School, Norfolk, Virginia: “Students are staying in their seats longer, completing tasks in their entirety, and very excited about their new desk accessory. They have very happy feet and if their feet could smile I’m sure that they would.”

And Molly McCarthy, sixth grade teacher at Piedmont Open IB Middle School, Charlotte, North Carolina, said, “There are students who rely on the bands as much as their pencil and eraser.”

Harlem Globetrotters star Julian “Zeus” McClerkin, who is normally seen bouncing around a basketball court, is also a fan. He said “I wish I’d had Bouncy Bands when I was in school. Even now, I like to bounce my feet when I sit. I can see a lot of kids who would love these!”

For more information please visit: BouncyBands.com.

Two Million Students Unite To Perform One Hundred Million Acts Of Kindness

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Thank you to PRWeb for supplying this article, please share your thoughts in the comments section below…..

groupkidsYouth worldwide will transform their schools during The Great Kindness Challenge, a trailblazing initiative brought to you by Kids for Peace.

Kids for Peace today announced that over two million students will unite in kindness for the 2015 Great Kindness Challenge, taking place in schools all over the world January 26-30th. The Great Kindness Challenge was created in 2011 to address school bullying and to promote healthy relationships. In 2012, the program officially launched in Carlsbad, CA with 3 schools and 1,614 students. The yearly program has quadrupled in enrollment each year, having grown to schools in all 50 states and 47 countries.

Schools and students are drawn to the program for its positive and proactive approach to creating kinder school climates through a simple checklist of 50 Kind Acts. The checklist is distributed to students at the beginning of The Great Kindness Challenge Week. Students are encouraged to complete each kind act over the course of the week, as well as take part in additional service and community-building activities. Schools that participate are provided a downloadable toolkit, printable checklists and support from The Great Kindness Challenge team, all at no cost.

Charlotte DeWitt, a school counselor at Central Primary in Arkansas explains, “I was just tired of saying ‘Bully, bully, bully all the time. I wanted to do something with kindness at our school, and then I found The Great Kindness Challenge. I said to our administration, ‘This is what we need to do.’ And The Great Kindness Challenge makes it so easy.” Now in their second year, Central Primary is planning for another week focusing on kindness, and will have community members on hand for a kick-off rally, assemblies and talks on kindness throughout the week.

Jill McManigal, founder & creator of The Great Kindness Challenge, explains, “We know to truly transform school cultures, we must include the entire campus. That is why we have kind acts that honor and celebrate principals, guidance counselors, office staff, car pool drivers, crossing guards, volunteers, custodians, teachers and of course, students. We honor the whole school community with kindness and respect.”

Principals agree and have promoted the program with incentives for the students. Chad Lund, principal of Jefferson Elementary in Carlsbad — one of the founding Great Kindness Challenge schools – is taking his encouragement to new heights. Lund has promised to skydive out of an airplane with a “Kindness Matters” banner if all his students complete their checklists.

Schools across the nation will open their doors on Monday morning with “Community Kindness Tunnels” where children will be welcomed by police officers, firefighters, mayors, military personnel, PTA members and volunteers with handmade banners and kind cheers. “It’s magic,” said one student. “It’s my favorite week of the year.”

At Roan Creek Elementary in Tennessee, students will be honoring the 50 Act Checklist with a 50’s themed dress-up day and each morning throughout the entire week, a student will read a motivational and kind quote to start the day. Students at Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet in Minnesota will be surprised with inspirational “Post It” note messages on their lockers. Hope Elementary in California will host a school-wide Kindness Coat Drive for a homeless shelter and complete their 50 kind acts at daily recess Kindness Stations.

While the excitement is large, it is the simple acts of kindness that prove to be the biggest hit. Some of the items on the checklist are: smile at 25 people, help your teacher with a needed task, help a younger student, and sit with a new group of kids at lunch. McManigal explains, “When students perform kind act after kind act, kindness becomes a habit. And when kindness becomes a habit, peace becomes possible.”

“Our team was overjoyed to reach the tremendous milestone of enrolling two million students by 2015,” said McManigal. “But now,” she says, “we have even bigger goals. We intend to have The Great Kindness Challenge in every school in The United States by 2020, creating a culture where all people care for and respect each other.” If the students, teachers and principals who are already participating have anything to say about it, The Great Kindness Challenge will surely reach this goal.

About The Great Kindness Challenge

The Great Kindness Challenge is one school week devoted to performing as many acts of kindness as possible, choosing from our checklist of 50 suggestions. The GKC has the power to increase empathy, tolerance, and compassion for all students from pre-school through high school. Schools may still get involved by registering at no cost here: http://greatkindnesschallenge.org/School/event.html

The Great Kindness Challenge is made possible by the generosity of presenting sponsor Dignity Health and supporting sponsors: ExaMobile, The Code Crew, ViaSat, SDG&E, NRG and McGraw-Hill Education.

About Kids for Peace

Kids for Peace is a California-based global nonprofit that provides a platform for youth to actively engage in socially-conscious leadership, community service, arts, environmental stewardship and global friendship. Founded in 2006 by a mother and a Carlsbad High School honors students, Kids for Peace has now launched over 250 chapters in six continents. All Kids for Peace activities are based on the Peace Pledge, wise words written by the children to inspire peace for all.

10 Spring Break Safety Tips For College Students

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and SABRE. Please share your thoughts below…..

teensEach year, upwards of 1.5 million students go on spring break*, a peak travel season that poses many risks for college-aged men and women. The truth is that the spring break environment – however fun – can lead to negative consequences such as sexual assault, alcohol poisoning, serious injuries and more. This frightening reality is why SABRE is distributing its top 10 tips to reduce safety and health risks this vacation season.

While a safety mindset should be applied to every part of your vacation (alcohol-related or not), we know that binge drinking plays a significant role in spring break safety risks. In fact, 91% of parents think spring break marketing and drink promotions should be stopped – but free or cheap alcohol access was an important factor in deciding to go on a spring break trip for two in five women**. Here are 10 tips to help drinkers and non-drinkers alike stay safe on spring break:

1. Arrive safely. Driving through the night to make it down to Florida or other sunny destinations is common for spring breakers. But the National Safety Council says traffic death rates are three times greater at night than during the day. If you can’t avoid night driving, have at least one person stay awake to talk to driver.

2. Don’t take chances at your hotel. Lock the doors, and secure important belongings like passports and wallets in the safe. SABRE’s door stop alarm is portable and can alert you if someone tries to break-in. Make sure it’s in your suitcase this spring break.

3. Be smart about who you give personal information out to; don’t tell new acquaintances your hotel or room number. You never know who has innocent or dangerous intentions.

4. Make sure you know the name and address of your hotel or take a hotel business card out with you so you can give it to a cab driver. This is especially important if you don’t speak the local language.

5. The buddy system – it works! We do NOT recommend you leave a party with a stranger; it’s always best to take a friend with you. If for whatever reason you do leave without your friends, give them details about where you’re going and when to expect you back.

6. Practice safe drinking – take turns so that one friend in the group per night will plan on minimal drinking to look out for everyone. Other good habits: watching your cup or glass, and only accept drinks that you’ve watched get made or poured in front of you.

7. If you need help, ask for it. If there’s an emergency don’t rely on a bystander to call for help. Call for help yourself to be sure first responders or police gets the message.

8. Hydrate & wear sunscreen. Heat stroke and melanoma aren’t happy spring break thoughts, but too much time in the sun can leave you dehydrated with an increased risk of sunburns. Take your SPF and a bottle of water to the beach.

9. If traveling outside of the country, be sure to look up the address or contact information for the American consulate or U.S. Embassy in the country where you’re headed. Be sure to tell friends and relatives in the U.S. of your travel itinerary and try to check in with them often.

10. Carry a small, practical, and easy to use personal protection tool like pepper spray or a personal alarm. SABRE Red pepper spray and SABRE personal alarms are legal to carry in all 50 states.

For more information about how to adopt a safe and healthy lifestyle, visit the SABRE website http://www.sabrered.com.

About SABRE:

SABRE Security Equipment Corporation provides best-in-class personal safety, home security and law enforcement products to maximize consumers’ safety. The company strives to educate and empower customers with the knowledge and powerful products needed if and when someone is in danger. SABRE believes that everyone should be protected so that they can live a safe, healthy life with peace of mind.

How College Students Can Stay Healthy On A Budget

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By Diane Pierre-Louis

universityThe college years can be busy and stressful and it can often feel like an uphill battle to maintain a healthy lifestyle on a limited budget. You know the scenario: you stay out a little too late at a party and leave hungry, so you pick up a burger or order a pizza. Or perhaps you have to cram for a term paper, so you consume countless cups of coffee or cans of soda to stay alert.

Either way, you’re not doing your body – or mind – much good. And your budget is probably taking a hit as well as you skip from one unplanned fast-food meal to another.

In order to be successful in school, you need to be at the top of your game physically, mentally and emotionally. Sure, the temptations of college life can be hard to resist, but if you follow these tips for staying healthy on a limited budget, you should start to see positive changes in little to no time.

Cook Meals and Bring Snacks
It might seem as if it’s easy to live off convenience foods, prepackaged meals and caffeinated drinks. However, this habit is expensive and bad for your body. Instead, teach yourself how to plan and cook simple, healthy meals several times a week. A great rule of thumb is to stay as close to a food’s original form as possible; the longer the ingredient list, the worse the dish may be for you. Consider teaming up with friends for themed potlucks and cooking parties. Also, skip the vending machine candy bar or cup of coffee between classes; it’s cheaper and just as easy to stash your own energizing snacks (bananas, granola bars, trail mix, etc.) and fill a thermos of coffee to get you through a busy day.

Shop Smart and Use Coupons
Coupons are often overlooked as a great way to save money. Check the local newspaper on Sunday for coupons that can help bring your grocery costs down, particularly when buying nonperishable and household items. Be careful, though, of falling into the trap of using coupons for items you don’t actually need. And also be sure that the discounted price of the item is still lower than the store’s generic brand.

joggersGet Some Exercise
We’ve all heard how working out benefits mind and body. The good news: college campuses are teeming with exercise options that are easy to incorporate into a busy schedule. Walk or ride your bike to class, find a running buddy in your dorm or join an intramural volleyball or flag football team. Having someone to work out with is a great motivator; if nothing else, it should make the prospect of a predawn gym session easier to handle.

With student discounts available, there should be little to no cost involved in getting enough exercise and the payoff can be huge.

Leave it Parked
If you have a car, leave it in the parking lot. Walk as much as possible and only use your car when it’s absolutely necessary – as a result, you’ll boost your health and your budget. If you’re the only one in your group with wheels, it’s time to practice saying “No,” unless you plan to collect gas money every time a friend needs a ride.

If you start by adopting this handful of healthy and budget-friendly habits, it won’t be long before you’re coming up with your own creative ways to save money and take care of yourself.

– This guest post was provided by Diane Pierre-Louis. Diane writes for U.S. News University Directory and covers topics related to Masters in Reading and Masters in Curriculum and Instruction programs.

Public Schools Screen Students For Childhood Obesity Using BMI

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obeseboyvectorbellyFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article from a local ABC/FOX channel entitled Public Schools Screen Students for Childhood Obesity using BMI out of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health requires public schools to screen each student for their BMI in 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th grade. Then all parents are sent a letter with the results. Last year in West Springfield over 33% of students in any of these grades was considered overweight or obese. Of course, this has been a sensitive issue in many parts of the United States, where parents do not want the schools to test their children due to the embarrassment of the situation or lack of sensitivity to the children. Once it has become a routine in many areas, the controversy has lessened to a point where students are not feeling uncomfortable with it, and testing is completed in a non-embarrassing manner. BMI, or Body Mass Index estimates the ideal weight of a person based on its size and weight. The Body mass index is valid for an adult man or woman (18 to 65 years). A high BMI is associated with increased risk of death. The risk of death increases with a high overweight for both men and women (cancer or other diseases) . The factor increases if the person smokes. What is your opinion on this issue? Use the comments section below to share your thoughts, and please visit the ABC/FOX web site (listed below) to read the complete article.”

Want to know your BMI?

From the article…..

Childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the last 30 years. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Body Mass Index or BMI, is used to determine obesity rates in public schools across the state.

It’s a regulation that has been in place for 5 years. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health requires public schools to screen each student for their BMI in 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th grade. Then all parents are sent a letter with the results. Last year in West Springfield over 33% of students in any of these grades was considered overweight or obese. But according to West Springfield Superintendent Russell Johnston, the regulation does help.

“It helps to just communicate to parents two important things. Here are the results and if you have any concerns about this we encourage you to speak with your pediatrician or your child’s nurse to follow up because this is just one indication of your child’s weight,” Johnston said.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Raising Money Through Dance

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teensFrom Your Health Journal…..Right now, the Harlem Shake is getting very popular…. and so many kids enjoy moving to it. What a great form of exercise. But, one thing I really respect is when I see kids helping others. Found a great article and video on one of my favorite web sites called Education Week, written by Bryan Toporek entitled N.Y. Students Raise Nearly $500,000 for Charity Through Dancing. I wanted tor promote this article here, as these students should be commended as they raised $489,716.27 for charitable causes. This web site promotes healthy lifestyle and helping others – two things this event accomplished. Please visit the Education Week web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. Well done South Glens High School!”

From the article…..

Who knew doing the Harlem Shake could be so profitable?

More than 700 students from South Glens Falls (N.Y.) High School gathered this past weekend for the school’s 36th annual dance marathon and raised $489,716.27 for charitable causes, according to the school’s website.

The students began the dance marathon at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 1, and kept it going through 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.

The nearly $500,000 that they raised will be donated to 40 individuals, families, and organizations hand-selected by the students who planned the dance. Recipients include an alumna whose family lost their possessions in a house fire, a 4-year-old boy with a brain tumor, and the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern N.Y.

The money raised shattered the old record of $395,352 collected during the 2012 version of the event. Since the event started back in 1978, students have raised more than $3 million for charitable causes, according to the school.

A number of local restaurants and businesses offered their support by donating proceeds to the school. The school also holds both a live auction and silent auction during the marathon dance event to entice community members.

More than 90 percent of the school’s population participates in the dance, according to the school’s website.

To read the complete article and watch video…..Click here

Oregon’s PE Push

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boygirlplayFrom Your Health Journal…..A great article by Susan Nielsen in the Oregonian entitled Oregon’s big plan for PE greatness takes a back seat. In 2007, concerned over childhood obesity, Oregon wanted to become a national leader in physical education. Oregon’s lack of progress on its ambitious PE goals, evident in new state data, is one more sign of the widening gap between the state’s aspirations and its capacity to deliver on them. But, everything seemed to stall, and PE did not get’s it due. The average elementary-school student in Oregon got only about 70 minutes of PE a week last school year, or less than 15 minutes a day, less than the state mandate of 150 weekly minutes for their age group. Middle schoolers fared better at about 144 minutes per week on average, but fell short of the future 225-minute weekly mandate for students their age. Sadly, instead of increasing PE time, many district cut it out of the curriculum. This was a very interesting article, and I wanted to share it with all of you and promote it here. Please visit the Oregonian web site (link provided below) to view the complete article.”

From the article…..

In 2007, driven by concerns over childhood obesity, Oregon vowed to become a national leader in physical education. The apparent plan to meet that goal is to run furiously in place.

Oregon’s lack of progress on its ambitious PE goals, evident in new state data, is one more sign of the widening gap between the state’s aspirations and its capacity to deliver on them.

“The failure to move the dial on PE,” says Otto Schell, legislative advocate for the Oregon PTA, “is symptomatic of a lot of things.”

The Legislature passed a sweeping PE law in 2007 that would, by 2017, require K-8 students to dramatically increase their time spent exercising at school. Though the mandate came with minimal money attached, the rationale was that with a decade’s notice, school districts could hire the PE teachers, find the indoor exercise space and get students moving.

The idea sounded great by itself, says Mark Mulvihill, a superintendent from eastern Oregon who sits on the state education investment board. The trouble at the local level comes when new ideas join a growing pile of other big ideas without clear plans to implement or pay for them.

Today, school districts squeezed by inadequate funding and rising pension costs have made no progress toward their deadline. According to data finalized last week by the Oregon Department of Education, the average elementary-school student in Oregon got only about 70 minutes of PE a week last school year, or less than 15 minutes a day. That’s less than half the coming state mandate of 150 weekly minutes for their age group.

Middle schoolers fared better at about 144 minutes per week on average, but they still fell short of the future 225-minute weekly mandate for students their age.

Quantity of PE isn’t the only problem. So is quality, says the state in its latest PE progress report. Many districts have cut PE teachers from their elementary schools, requiring regular classroom teachers to teach PE (to large classes, along with their other duties) without the needed equipment or training.

To read the complete article…..Click here

Letters Informing Parents Their Kid Are Obese

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girldonutFrom Your Health Journal…..”One web site I always enjoy and promote is called BlissTree, as they have so many well written and informative articles. I highly recommend your visiting their site for some quality articles. Recently, I found an article called “Fat Letters” Informing Parents Their Kid Is Obese Are Not Solving Childhood Obesity written by Carrie Murphy. Many parents in a Massachusetts town were surprised when they received letters in the mail informing them their children were “obese.” These letters were sent from their children’s school in an effort to fight obesity. The question then comes up whether schools have to right to monitor a child’s health. BMI (Body Mass Index) Screening was used, where a child’s height and weight measurements are taken to see if the child’s weight fall within a healthy range. Sometimes, a BMI is controversial, as many people feel it is not giving an accurate result, sighting it does not take into account lean body mass or water weight. But, due to its convenience, it still remains a popular way of measuring children’s weight. Obesity related illnesses are a problem, even children are not immune to them. Heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and weak joints are now problems facing children. Please visit the Bliss Tree web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

Quite a few parents in North Andover, Massachusetts were surprised when they received letters in the mail informing them their children were “obese.” These letters, which came from the school system, were designed as “part of a broader strategy to combat obesity,” according to the Huffington Post. But do schools really have a right to monitor the weight of their pupils?

Children are given routine BMI screenings in school and letters are sent to parents revealing if a student is underweight, overweight, or at a healthy weight. Apparently, parents can opt their children out of the screenings, or choose to come to the school to watch the screenings themselves. The Massachusetts Department Of Public Health said, in an email to the Huffington Post:

BMI screenings are part of a multi-faceted approach to address the significant public health problem of obesity. Children with a high BMI are more likely to become overweight or obese adults and be at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Helping children maintain a healthy weight may prevent serious illness later in life. The latest BMI report showed that 32.3% of students in Massachusetts were either overweight or obese.

BMI screenings are intended to raise parents’ awareness about this issue. Parents and guardians are given the opportunity to waive their child’s BMI screening at school by submitting a written request. The results of the screening are directly and confidentially communicated to the parents or guardians of each student.

One fourth grader who wrestles and plays football, was determined to have a BMI that marked him as obese. His parents are angry about the letter and the screening, which they say doesn’t take into consideration muscle mass.

But the issue here is obviously more that just what constitutes a BMI (the measurement of which is almost certainly flawed, by the way). It’s one of schools and school systems becoming, in a way, public health policemen. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I think this kind of approach is borderline fat-shaming (yes, despite the fact that letters were sent out to normal and underweight kids, too) and rife with problems. Where are the tests conducted: in a private room or in sight of other children? Do they even know or understand what they’re being tested for? At what age does the testing begin? This article says it happens at “certain ages,” but doesn’t go into specifics.

To read the complete article…..Click here