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Old 12-03-2007, 02:35 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally posted by Canadiens1160
The problem of childhood obesity should be attacked at the community level, whether its investment in more wide-ranging after school sports programs, alternative gym classes providing non-competitive physical activity, and pushing good nutrition onto neglectful parents.
Well, schools are 'the community level,' or at least one arena of it. But how would you enforce something like 'pushing good nutrition onto neglectful parents'? I agree that what kids have access to during school hours is only one part of the picture and not a particularly large part at that, but I also don't see where it's harmful, and to a limited extent I do think it could help. While home-based habits are unquestionably a larger influence, still, making a habit of spending your pocket money--and setting aside whether that's how your parents, whose money it probably is, intended you to spend it--on 'a la carte' fast-food items or vending machine chips-and-cookie combos while at school can slide into longterm regular cravings for those foods, even if your parents ARE diligent about limiting those things to occasional treats at home. It's not a question of not realizing that that way of eating "isn't very good for you"--we all know perfectly well that it isn't, but just like with smoking, once you let unwise eating habits get established during a phase of bad judgment (and, again as with smoking, that's much likelier to happen before your twenties than it is later in life), it can be very difficult to get out of them.
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Old 12-03-2007, 02:53 PM   #32
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
I think high school students should be given the credit and responsibility to police their own food choices-they can easily get to a store nearby their school and get junk anyway if they have a car or their friends do.
Exactly.

I think at the elementary and middle school levels, kids would abuse the selling of soda (I know I would have), when they don't really understand the consequences.

In high school, we do.

If soda was sold, I'd buy it occassionally.
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Old 12-03-2007, 03:16 PM   #33
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If schools are going to cut junk food and remove vending machines or not allow soda, I would assume that at the same time they are going to increase PE in their curriculum, otherwise it would seem pretty hypocritical...
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Old 12-03-2007, 03:29 PM   #34
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What states require PE? I know PA does, and I think we watched a video in health once that said it's one of the few left that requires it.
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Old 12-03-2007, 03:31 PM   #35
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I think schools just don't have the money anymore for PE-it seems even the wealthy communities would rather spend the money on other things. It does seem hypocritical.
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Old 12-03-2007, 03:34 PM   #36
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Well, from what I know, many schools cancelled PE in order to put that funding into funding for the standardized testing that has recently been emphasized.

In summary, kids are becoming less healthy and more academically average.
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Old 12-03-2007, 03:44 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
I think schools just don't have the money anymore for PE-it seems even the wealthy communities would rather spend the money on other things. It does seem hypocritical.
I honestly remember dozens of times in elementary school where the teacher would "punish" the class for misbehaving by cancelling gym that week. There's a bright idea.
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Old 12-03-2007, 04:06 PM   #38
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Originally posted by phillyfan26
Well, from what I know, many schools cancelled PE in order to put that funding into funding for the standardized testing that has recently been emphasized.

In summary, kids are becoming less healthy and more academically average.
No fat child left behind...
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Old 12-03-2007, 04:12 PM   #39
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My understanding is that it's at least as much a time question (ever-expanding academic curriculum requirements, 'elective squeeze') as it is a funding question. We'd really need someone who's up-to-the-minute on nationwide legislative and policy implementation trends in this regard though, and I'm not sure we have that in here...?

New York Times, October 20, 2007
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The percentage of districts that require elementary schools to teach physical education increased, to 93% last year from 83% in 2000. But just 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools and 2% of high schools provided physical education each school day, as is recommended by the disease control agency. One-fifth of schools did not require physical education at all.
USA Today, August 23, 2006
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Government research shows that the percentage of high school students enrolled in daily physical education decreased from about 42% in 1991 to 33% in 2005. Most states introduced legislation this year and in 2005 to toughen up PE requirements.

To figure out whether higher PE time requirements are effective, economist John Cawley of Cornell University and colleagues analyzed data on 37,000 teens in grades nine through 12 from government surveys in 1999, 2001 and 2003. The economists did calculations on students' height, weight and amount of time in gym classes and compared the data with states' PE requirements. They found that when states required an extra year of PE for high school students, which is roughly 200 more minutes a week of physical education:
• Male students said they spent another 7.6 minutes a week exercising or playing sports in gym class.
• Female students spent an extra eight minutes and six seconds a week doing exercise in PE.

There may be several reasons for this small increase in time, Cawley says. "Some schools are ignoring the laws and not meeting the state requirements." And some teachers are not keeping children moving during class time, he says. His research also showed that the amount of time states required for physical education classes didn't seem to have an effect on teens' weight or risk of obesity.

He says another study showed that 26% of schools in the country fail to comply with state regulations for PE, and research on elementary school students in a county in Texas showed that the children did moderate to vigorous activity for 3.4 minutes of a 40-minute class. About two-thirds of class time was spent in sedentary activity; one-quarter of the time was spent doing minimal activity. "The real risk here is that states may increase the time requirements, think they've addressed the problem of childhood obesity and may move on to other priorities," says Cawley, whose paper is in the fall issue of Education Next.
PTA.org, undated
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Judith Young, executive director of National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), the nation's largest organization for physical education teachers, maintains that schools cut gym classes for lack of funding, but more often cuts result from time constraints that develop with the addition of new curriculum. "Standards-based reform has been detrimental to physical education," said Young.

Young said it troubles her to see gym classes eliminated, especially when physical education curriculum is getting better. Historically, she explained, physical education programs did a poor job of promoting life-long physical activity, and focused almost exclusively on a handful of competitive sports, such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, softball, and baseball. According to a November 2000 report to the president from the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Education, kids need to be taught less competitive activities—such as bicycling, running, and swimming—because they're more likely to carry these activities into their adult lives.

As gym classes get elbowed out of the curriculum in favor of other subjects, recess, in many school districts, is also in jeopardy. An estimated 40% of U.S. school districts either have eliminated recess or are considering eliminating it, said Rhonda Clements, president for the American Association of the Child's Right to Play. Some school districts cite safety and supervision issues as reasons for eliminating recess, explained Clements. But more likely, she said, recess is chucked in favor of an expanded curriculum.
I'm not sure how the spread of requirements from one state to the next varies with education level (elementary, middle, high). Also, I suppose a generalized requirement to "have" PE isn't necessarily the same as specifying how much time needs to be devoted to it, what kinds of activities satisfy the requirement etc.

It's a little hard to compare this to regulating what's available to eat in schools, though--for obvious reasons, providing a lunch period is an absolute non-negotiable in a way that providing an organized exercise period isn't.

I'm not sure that regular PE classes at the high school level were ever particularly common. But then again, the average high school student 30 years ago was probably getting more exercise outside of school than today's.
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Old 12-03-2007, 04:13 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by phillyfan26
What states require PE? I know PA does, and I think we watched a video in health once that said it's one of the few left that requires it.
No idea, I went to a private school so at least from experience I am disconnected as far as state standards. PE was a requirement for me, including high school and college. Yes, I was required to take three phys ed classes in order to graduate college (I took weight lifting, dance I and dance II). In elementary school and middle school I think we had PE 1-3 times a week. During recess, we were required to be outside unless it was too rainy or the windchill got below -20F (which happened maybe once or twice ever).
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Old 12-03-2007, 04:37 PM   #41
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The problem, to me, is that PE is a drag on GPA. If it wasn't required, I wouldn't be taking it right now, because it's a lower credit course since it's available to everyone. It hurts my GPA by being there. With everyone so college-minded, no one in their right mind would take PE voluntarily, when you could be taking an elective with more value, or (in most cases) no elective at all.
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Old 12-03-2007, 05:58 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally posted by phillyfan26
The problem, to me, is that PE is a drag on GPA. If it wasn't required, I wouldn't be taking it right now, because it's a lower credit course since it's available to everyone. It hurts my GPA by being there. With everyone so college-minded, no one in their right mind would take PE voluntarily, when you could be taking an elective with more value, or (in most cases) no elective at all.
The notion of phys ed. counting towards or hurting a GPA is ludacrous. It should be pass fail, and a requirement for everybody. Simple as that.
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Old 12-03-2007, 06:05 PM   #43
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Originally posted by randhail


The notion of phys ed. counting towards or hurting a GPA is ludacrous. It should be pass fail, and a requirement for everybody. Simple as that.
I agree. But then I felt the same way about a number of other requirements.

We were required to take PE in 9th and 10th grade but after that it was optional. I can't even imagine the university requiring it and I've never heard of that anywhere in this country, except in obvious PE education programs or related disciplines. I think if we were forced into a PE class at that point, there would have been a revolt. I surely wasn't going to PAY substantial amounts of money for a PE class at an undergrad level, nevermind more than 1.

How many of you have gym memberships fully covered by employers?
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Old 12-03-2007, 06:36 PM   #44
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Originally posted by anitram
How many of you have gym memberships fully covered by employers?
As university faculty I'm eligible for reduced-rate membership at our campus athletic facilities; it's a couple hundred bucks per year (free for students).

In general, I think gym memberships "fully covered" by employers are very rare in the US; there are probably a small number of large corporations that offer it as a benefit, though.
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Old 12-03-2007, 06:54 PM   #45
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I get a fully paid membership at a gym of my choice (from a list of 4 - all very good or high end) through the firm, but then this is also a taxable benefit which I will have to claim.

I know a few firms around here have also started giving out allowances in lieu of gym memberships, so that employees who would prefer to do something like yoga or rock climbing or buy a road bike can do so as well.
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