In 2002 the government cut the amount of funding for physical education in public schools. Health and physical education which were once a mandatory class to graduate is now an elective if offered. These cuts leave very little money available for hiring physical education teachers and ordering equipment. Over the past two years I have noticed a few bad fitness situations with children and the school system.
I was disturbed at the story regarding the 9 year old sent home with the fitness letter from school. I feel it was a bad decision to send the letters home with the children. Children are inquisitive by nature! Letters of this nature should have been mailed to the homes. Why not discuss this matter with the parent on parent/ teacher night? I’m also quite sure the teachers have the ability to email the parents. Most important is the message that can be perceived by children and teens.
- If they are not skinny/ slender they are considered overweight or obese.
- Classified as overweight or obese if not as physically active or fit as peers.
We are creating a feeling of inferiority and self-consciousness. We should be motivating our children and teens to be healthier. When the fitness examinations are taking place is the following considered…
- Body structure.
- Physical lifestyle outside of school.
- Physical abilities and inabilities.
- Nutritional habits.
There is a better way of promoting physical fitness to children and teens. Through thorough research as well as collaboration between school and home. We are sure to break the epidemic of obesity. A few tips to get started are as follows…
- Start by making physical fitness fun.
- Become more active as a family.
- Educate children and teens about the benefits of physical fitness.
- Reduce TV and computer time.
- Make physical fitness mandatory in schools.
Let’s keep in mind that physical activity must take place at home as well as in school. As parents we have to take time out of our busy schedules to become more involved in our children’s physical well-being. It is not necessary to bully or embarrass children and teens into physical fitness with secret letters or pressure to get involved in sports. Find the present fitness level of the child/ teen and build upon that. What is the current physical interests of the teen? As an ex- certified fitness trainer, I would recommend 60 minutes of aerobic activity a day. A few fun activities children and teens can do for exercise are:
- Play soccer
- Brisk walk
A strength training regimen should not be implemented until after puberty and with a professional. What is most important is to stimulate and maintain their interest in a supportive and non- aggressive manner. I feel the change in the approach taken towards the subject will make a huge difference. Motivational and open conversations between teachers and parents as well as parents and their children will contribute to keeping our children physically fit. Making fitness and health a community- wide effort will make up for the lack of physical education professionals in our schools.