Shape up! – Health/Graph It! – school physical education

Shape up! – Health/Graph It! – school physical education – Brief Article

Kim Y. Masibay

If you shun pushups or mile runs in gym class, you’re not alone. Recent surveys show activity levels in and out of PE classes have nose-dived. Studies also claim that while most teens crave being physically fit, teen obesity rates have skyrocketed in the past 30 years from 5 to 15 percent.

Can schools help students get firm? To find out, researchers at San Diego State University (SDSU) helped 12 California middle schools shape up lunch programs and PE classes. The goal: decrease students’ dietary fat intake and increase physical activity over two years. Did it fly?

Eating habits barely changed, but some boys worked up more of a sweat. Not girls, however–which has some health experts suggesting that trendy activities like yoga, Pilates (an exercise system designed to build flexibility and overall body strength), and step aerobics be offered in PE. “We still have a long way to go before schools make healthy eating and physical activities easy choices,” says SDSU psychologist James Sallis.

RATING GYM CLASS

Does PE buff your body of waste your time? Study the bar graphs below to see what 500 teens had to say. Here are their top picks. Then survey your classmates. Show your results in a bar graph.

WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT PE:

The opportunity to exercise 20%

Getting fit 18%

It’s fun 16%

The activities offered 16%

WHAT’S BAD ABOUT PE:

Running 13%

Boring activities/no variety 9%

Dressing/undressing for class 7%

WHAT TEENS WANT IN PE:

Learn how to stay fit 52%

Skills and rules for activities 20%

Learn how the body works 10%

Source: National Association for Sport and

Physical Education

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