« AYP's Grade: Incomplete | Main | Miller's Three-Point Plan »

Richard Simmons: Fit Kids Are Smart Kids

| 6 Comments

In 11 years at Education Week, I've covered State of the Union Addresses, visited dozens of schools, and traveled to Antarctica. But I've never interviewed a Hollywood celebrity.

Until today.

Fitness guru Richard Simmons read my item about the House bill he's endorsing to add physical education requirements under NCLB. One of his assistants called to tell me Simmons would like to talk. I left him a message, and he called back five minutes later. You can listen to our 15-minute conversation here. (He does most of the talking.)

simmonsactII.jpg

He explains that he's taking on this campaign because he wants his legacy to be helping to end childhood obesity. He tells of his failed attempt to get an audience with President Bush. "He's declined to see me. He's busy. The man is busy. There's wars. There's stuff. Sometimes you forget there's a war on obesity in America, which is an epidemic right now."

He did, however, meet with Rep. George Miller, the chairman of the House education committee, and hopes to win the Democrat's support.

Although Simmons says the goal that elementary schools have 150 minutes of PE each week is ambitious, he says it would pay off. "Kids learn more if they're physically active. My big question is: Why is nobody pushing to get PE back in our schools when it's the only answer we have to save our children?"

In the final minute of our conversation, his voice rises to crescendo: "I think we all have to join hands together and say, 'Hey, put physical education in a fun way in the schools and the test scores will go up! Why not even try it? Give it a year, and I promise you the test scores will go up."

Listening to it, I realize I was practically speechless. Wouldn't you have been?

6 Comments

Yes, please let's put PE back in schools. But let's make it INDEPENDENT OF WEIGHT. If we link fitness to the "war on obesity", then we alienate every plus size kid, ignore every lean kid, increase the bullying in the schools, and increase eating disorders. (When interviewing those suffering from eating disorders, it is found that a great majority of them began their disordered eating after being bullied by a gym teacher ... yes, teacher, not student.)

In H.R. 3257, The FIT Kids Act, under Sec. 3. Findings., there are five references to obesity. The bill clearly links PE classes to reducing children's body size.

I encourage people to write their congressman/woman and ask that the bill be changed. Ask that HEALTH BEHAVIORS, NOT BODY SIZE, be the reason for adding PE back to our schools.

Yes, let’s put PE back in school, but NOT because of body size. Let’s do it for the health of all kids of every size.

Hello
My name is Mary Smith and I feel that the fit kids act is a wonderful and important act that should be included in the no child left behind act. Being strong, healthy and active is so important and so often both the adults and the children (esp in America do not get the proper amount of exercise both cardiovascular and strength training that they need.In the fit kids act I think that it is also important to address nutrition as well. Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. It does not make sence to exercise and then go eat at a fast food resturant that serves nothing but junk food.
I am a group fitness instructor and personal trainer and feel that children should receive both PE and recess every day at school. I could go on and on but I completely support the fit kids act and feel that it is needed and should be included as part of the No child left behind act. Richard Simmons has a great idea. Mary Smith (Long Island NY)

One of the main reasons I am home schooling my 5th grade daughter is due to the fact she put on 30 extra pounds. In her school she had PE twice a week and never did anything to break a sweat. They played games that didn't get the heart rate up. She would come home eat dinner and have homework until bed. Weekends she always had a project or a book report or studying or SOMETHING keeping her busy. School literally monopolized all of her time. As important as education is, it should not monopolize that much of a childs time (and life). We now start our day, every day with at least 1 hour of PE, and I'm not just saying this, but most of the time we use Richard Simmons tapes. A 10 year old wants it to be fun and we found Richard to be just that. We incorporate 30 to 45 minutes each day to a "sport", anything fun thats active. She always ate pretty good, but it was the lack of physical activity that was a factor in her weight gain. I am so happy that we have decided to make these changes this year. She is down 10 pounds already, and we are having a ball. She is my only child and I did not work outside the home so fortunately homeschooling was an option for me. For those whom it is not an option I pray that Richard is successful in bringing PE to the schools!! It is so necessary!!!

Richard you know what I was thinking about the fitkids bill by getting the kids more fit and physcal education for the as well because I think you got the best ideas then ever to do this because I know this is your only thing but you know whst I will be more then happy to do this with you so don't you worry about a thing I'm going to help you do it so good luck with your congressional election and PE in the schools.bye, jodie

I think that government has an obligation to act on all aspects of health, nutrition education and fitness/physical activity for kids. It is the solution to a National Health crisis and as a bonus will be a tool in cutting our health care expenses-preventative health care needs to be a priority. I have over 20 years of experience in teaching exercise to children and recently finished my Masters in the field. (Masters of Education in the dept. of health & physical activity --with an emphasis in youth population) If You know where I can use my expertise, education and experience in making the most difference in this field, please share with me. I am devoted to advocating for this cause and volunteer, but would love to integrate these experiences and passions into a career that makes a difference! Share with me your input.

I think that government has an obligation to act on all aspects of health, nutrition education and fitness/physical activity for kids. It is the solution to a National Health crisis and as a bonus will be a tool in cutting our health care expenses-preventative health care needs to be a priority. I have over 20 years of experience in teaching exercise to children and recently finished my Masters in the field. (Masters of Education in the dept. of health & physical activity --with an emphasis in youth population) If You know where I can use my expertise, education and experience in making the most difference in this field, please share with me. I am devoted to advocating for this cause and volunteer, but would love to integrate these experiences and passions into a career that makes a difference! Share with me your input.

Comments are now closed for this post.

Advertisement

Recent Comments

  • Patricia Lininger: I think that government has an obligation to act on read more
  • Patricia Lininger: I think that government has an obligation to act on read more
  • jodie Pirraglia: Richard you know what I was thinking about the fitkids read more
  • Susan: One of the main reasons I am home schooling my read more
  • Mary A Smith: Hello My name is Mary Smith and I feel that read more

Archives

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here