Health: The Effect of Physical Education Frequency on Adult Obesity
Health: The Effect of Physical Education Frequency on Adult Obesity

Health: The Effect of Physical Education Frequency on
Adult Obesity

Dick Moss, Editor, Physical Education Update.com

As public health officials wring their hands about the obesity epidemic, there's a solution that is relatively low-cost, ready to implement and obvious to anyone involved in school health and physical education. Implement quality daily physical education in every school!

Our schools have the ability to ensure that every student receives physical activity on a daily basis…and to provide these students with the tools needed to maintain an active lifestyle into adulthood.

The effectiveness of physical education isn't conjecture. A study at the John's Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has quantified the effects of physical education classes on students' adult body weight.

The John Hopkins Study
The researchers studied 3,345 teens in grades eight through 12, tracking their participation in physical education and extracurricular sports, then measuring their height and weight five years after graduating from school.

It was found that the more days of physical education participation per week, the greater the chance that students would maintain a healthy body weight into adulthood.

To put the statistical results into layman's terms, the chances of becoming overweight adults decreased by 5% for every additional day of weekly PE or sport participation. Students who participated in daily physical education and/or extracurricular sport were 28% less likely to become overweight adults!

A Solution to the Obesity Problem
While both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Department Of Health and Human Services recommend physical education at all grade levels, less than half of high school students participate in physical education classes. Less than 6% of junior high and senior high schools offer daily physical education.

If our society truly wants to reduce health care costs, productivity losses to business and the human suffering involved with an overweight, unhealthy population, they should be adding physical education classes, not eliminating them! We must make daily physical education a requirement at all grade levels, and it should be taught by qualified physical educators using a curriculum aimed at providing the skills and knowledge necessary to participate in a lifelong fitness regimen.

Physical education isn't a frill. It's a necessity!


References:
1. Robert Wm. Blum (MD, MPH, PhD), David Menschik (MD, MPH) Saifuddin Ahmed (PhD) Miriam H. Alexander (MD, MP), "Adolescent Physical Activities As Predictors of Young Adult Weight." Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, January 2008.
2. "Physical Education and Active Play Help Teens Maintain Normal Weight as Adults, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health News Center, January 7, 2008. http://www.jhsph.edu/publichealthnews/press_releases/2008/blum_exercise.html


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