Emphasizing moving more to combat obesity
Will someone teach me how to play? As childhood obesity continues to grow, experts estimate that 15 percent of kids are overweight and another 15 percent are at risk of becoming overweight. And two-thirds of these overweight kids will become overweight adults. What has contributed to this epidemic?
According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, this increase is due to a lack of exercise and an improper balance of calories. Health risks like diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, joint pain, social problems and even sleep apnea are more likely to occur with obesity. While the Lets Move campaign headed up by first lady, Michelle Obama, has brought more awareness to this issue at large, the Boston Public Schools are really taking a leap forward by realizing the importance of quality physical education classes in our schools.
Jill Carter, the Director of the Boston Public School Health & Wellness Program believes, To be able to move you must be taught these skills. This is why she feels physical education is important. Carter also goes on to say, physical education classes engage students in activities that develop their motor skills and teach them how to throw, catch, jump and hop. Also, its not just about sports -- its about giving students life-long healthy lifestyle habits.
The Boston Public School Health and Wellness (BPSHW) Program realizes that students need to move more, and physical education class is where it needs to begin. In order to get more students active, physical fitness programs are incorporating more non-traditional sports with the hope that this will inspire students to move and want to play more traditional sports. The BPSHW Department is committed to training their physical education teachers in non-traditional activities such as rollerblading, biking, circuit training, dance and yoga.
I asked Latisa Hargett, a 13-year-old student at the Dearborn Middle School in Roxbury, what she likes about her physical education class, and she replied, my hip hop dance class. I then asked her why? and she replied, I am able to move, dance with my friends, teach my family what I learned and sweat. Since children today are not as active, these non-traditional activities are a good introduction to movement while teaching discipline to children about body posture and body movement. For Hargett, her hip hop dance class has made her more confident about trying other activities, including traditional sports.
With childhood obesity on the rise and kids just not moving enough, Carter says, physical education is more important, not less important. Today physical education is indeed one of the most fruitful activities of a school schedule.
Hargett is now moving more and learning how to PLAY!
A former basketball star and scholar-athlete at Burke and James Madison, Brandy Cruthird started her own fitness club in 1996 and today, thru Body By Brandy 4 Kidz, the club has fitness programs designed to teach kids the benefits of healthy bodies and healthy lives. Cruthird teaches at the Dearborn Middle School and will be a regular contributor to Boston.com/bps. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.