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"Fitness and Fatness"

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The majority of what we write about in this blog centers on academic motivation. But motivation matters in the physical education world too.

That's why it's worth noting that Texas recently introduced a statewide physical fitness test, to address what one health expert calls the "fitness and fatness of our youth in Texas," according to an Associated Press story on edweek.org. (FYI: We now have an AP education news feed on edweek.org that rolls new stories online 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. There's a lot of good content in the feed that you would probably find useful and interesting.)

Anyway, back to fitness and fatness.

According to the AP story, the test — which measures aerobic capacity, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility — will be used in every gym class in the state in grades three and up.

The emphasis on fitness is needed in Texas, state officials contend. Forty-two percent of the state's fourth graders, 39 percent of eighth-graders and 36 percent of 11th-graders are overweight or at risk of being overweight, according to a 2007 report from the Texas comptroller, according to the AP article. The same study concluded that the more education people get, the less likely they are to be overweight or obese.

Now, the real challenge begins: Motivating thousands of lazy, poor eaters to get outside and exercise and learn to eat less junk food. Easier said than done, right?

5 Comments

I am an elementary music teacher who changed schools this year. I was told that the September "Walk-A-Thon" was the big PTSA fundraiser for the year, but I had no idea how it impacted the kids health and fitness until it finally happened on Thursday. The students gathered pledges for the number of laps they would complete around the playground during a two-hour period. Along with this, they also learned about how to prepare and train for an athletic event like this. At 1:00 on Thursday the entire student body started to walk or jog around two set tracks on the playground. It was neat to see the kids pace themselves, sweat, plan breaks for water and snacks, and meet their goals. There will be prizes for the most $ raised, highest number of laps for each grade, and for the teacher who completed the most laps. I walked for the entire two hours and loved it. I will also recieve a mini-grant for my room from money raised for this event.

I know that obesity is is a huge problem facing the United States. Our principal is doing a lot of different things to encourage kids to healthy living. She has implemented "tennis shoe Tuesday" which staff and students are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes. She also invites students to "walk the halls with the principal" on Thursdays after school. She has created a Healthy Choices group. They meet on a regular basis to organize activities for the students to particiapte in.

This was very interesting to read. I really think children need to be more active at home and at school as well. I did get some ideas to take back to my school concerning health issues. I like the idea "tennis shoes Tuesday." As teachers, we should also model good health habit for our students.

Finally! A blog for PE teachers and those interested in fitness and wellness! It's great to hear about the steps that we are taking to address the issue of childhood obesity in the United States. Something that I do at my school is the mileage club. Students are encouraged to take laps during recess time on a designated track area on the playground. They get incentives for how far they go. I've found that most students who would otherwise just stand around at recess, are now moving! Check out the website: fitnessfinders.net/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=F&Category_Code=MCP

Great idea with the walk-a-thon! What a wonderful way to get students motivated.

I have always been an advocate for fitness and healthy living. However, how does a parent overcome the behaviorial training learned by our children in their classrooms with the food rewards they receive from the time they enter kindergarten and up? My daughter is now in 7th grade and still expects and receives candy and pizza party celebrations regularly.
What can you do to find other motivators? It's easy to use food as a reward!

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  • Paula Bensley: I have always been an advocate for fitness and healthy read more
  • Traci Morin: Finally! A blog for PE teachers and those interested in read more
  • Regina Boney: This was very interesting to read. I really think children read more
  • Sandi: I know that obesity is is a huge problem facing read more
  • Stacey Eliason: I am an elementary music teacher who changed schools this read more

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