Children’s Quality of Life on the Decline in the US

June 8, 2010

CNN is running a story highlighting a recent report that children’s quality of life in the US is on the decline.  There are a lot of factors that play into this study, but they directly pointed out:

There is also potential for an uptick in obesity as families with tight budgets move toward lower quality food because of the recession, Land said. Healthy foods tend to be expensive, while processed and fast foods are cheaper and more readily available to some families.

Community engagement will go down as school districts reduce the employment of teachers and cut back programs. The amount of time spent in school may even go down; in 2009, Hawaii became the first state to move to four-day school weeks to save money in the recession.”

(Emphasis mine)

As you can see, the declining budgets in schools have not only the possibility to impact the amount of exercise kids get, but could end up with schools moving to cheaper processed foods.  So with children eating worse at home, and at school, can we really afford to also cut back on gym time?  If we do, what kind of bargain are we making?  Save now in the moment and pay later with a lifetime of ill health and higher medical expenses, not to mention a shorter lifespan?

It’s time to act to prevent this from happening.


PA Board of Education Pushing for More Physical Activity

May 6, 2010

The Pennsylvania Board of Education has approved a preliminary proposal that would require all schools to fit in an additional 30 minutes of physical activity every day.  This is good news, and it means that I’m not the only one who feels this is important.  However, just because the Board of Education is calling for it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.  It is still up to individual school boards to act on this, and many school boards will point to existing health and wellness policies and talk about their existing compliance.

Worse yet, Florida tried this same policy last year, and many parents immediately opted their children out of additional exercise in favor of other activities, like music and art.

What we need to make sure is that the additional 30 minutes of exercise they’re proposing does not take the place of these other special activities, and, that parents aren’t easily given the opportunity to let their children skip out.  What I don’t want is to see is schools forced to offer one or the other, because if the choice is between the arts or exercise, everyone loses out.