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gym classes
physical education class
physical education programs
president john f kennedy
obesity in children
centers for disease control and prevention
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obese children
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Gym Classes Cut Obesity: Sorry Those Are No Longer In The School Budget
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Gym Classes Cut Obesity: Sorry Those Are No Longer In the School Budget

Physical education programs started because President John F. Kennedy saw the need for children to get more exercise, stay fit and lose weight. Gym classes were part of the curriculum in schools from grades 1 thro:ugh 12 when I was growing up. The school day was from 8:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. and you had reading, math, English, social studies or history, science and physical education class. Over the years, however, the school day has been shortened, and schools suffer from lack of funding for important programs. Schools were given a choice of what they could cut from their budgets and gym class was axed.

Obesity in children across the United States has skyrocketed and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of obese children ages 6 through 11 has tripled between 1980 and 2008. This means that the loss of physical education classes in today's schools is compounding the problem. Preventing kids from being overweight and unhealthy was one of the reasons President Kennedy started physical education for school children. Children, and adults, learn better when they are physically active. Test scores have dropped along with the loss of physical education programs in schools across the country.

Making the loss of gym classes worse for obese and over weight children, is that many live in unsafe neighborhoods where gang violence and other crime thrives, making it impossible for them to go to a playground or park, if one exists in the area. Urban areas have seen a loss of revenue from loss of businesses and no longer maintain public playgrounds or parks. Children are forced to stay indoors and watch television, play video games or get on the computer.

Texas had an extremely high rate of obese children in their schools and recently started a program in their schools to address the problem. State officials believed that they had a choice of correcting the problem now with addition expenses in the school systems, or they could wait and pay the high cost of health expenses for those children as adults with serious diseases and health conditions. The program is working and students are becoming less over weight or obese since it began.

In Ohio, some school districts have decided to add physical education program, despite having to find room in the daily schedule for the class. Other school districts have refused to return physical education to the schedule as it interferes with important classes required for standardized testing and others feel that to add gym class would extend the school day too long.

Where children in elementary school once had recess during the day, most schools have replaced recess with instructional time. Where physical education is required for graduation, schools have opted to credit students who are in band, cheerleading or sports in place of a bonafide physical education class. The country's poor economy is now a major contributor to childhood obesity through budget cuts in schools.


Street Talk

No recess? I quit, lol. I hated gym class myself. Was in many sports and did not need it, but I know many kids do.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Very true, Shawn.

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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