Magazine article District Administration

Minding Minds-And Bodies

Magazine article District Administration

Minding Minds-And Bodies

Article excerpt

THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT THE COUNTRY IS FOCUSING ON THE CHILDHOOD OBESITY epidemic. First Lady Michelle Obama's ambitious "Let's Move" campaign to curb childhood obesity in one generation intends to address the problem from both a physical activity standpoint and a nutritional standpoint inside as well as outside schools. As schools across the nation continue to face pressure over standardized testing in math and reading, many have understandably found it a struggle to include physical activity among their priorities. This campaign highlights the findings of many recent studies that physical fitness is equally important for a student's academic achievement (including recess for elementary school students) and should not be treated as an expendable block of time.

Along these lines, in this issue we look at some forward-thinking school districts that are choosing to offer "sports for life" physical education activities in PE class. In my day gym classes included rope climbing, dodgeball and uniform inspections--the stuff of nightmares at that time of my life. I wish instead that I had been in the Bellmore-Memck (N.Y.) Central High School District and others across the nation where tennis, spinning, biking and hip-hop dancing have become the norm, allowing something for everyone's interest. Exposing students to lifelong fitness choices in middle and high school raises the possibility of continued participation, something I think the First Lady would approve of as statistically 97 percent of students never play team sports again once they leave high school.

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