Shame on you! I found Barry Paschal's March 5 column on adding more physical education to the school day discriminating and rude. I can only expect that his "fellow band parents" feel the same way since he referred to their children as "fatties." He owes them an apology. I took offense to his unjustified generalization that children's "only exercise at home after school consists of inhaling Twinkies and pushing buttons on an X-Box controller." ...
How can he call Georgia Senate Bill 474, the Student Health and Fitness Act, an "incredibly ignorant threat to enrichment programs"? This bill mandates only 30 minutes more of PE per week at the elementary level, and that just isn't enough. But, at least it's a start.
Let me give you a few facts:
* A child is considered "obese" if his or her weight is 10 percent higher than what is recommended for their height and body type.
* Obesity most commonly begins in childhood between the ages of 5 and 6, and during adolescence.
* A child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult.
* Physical complications of obesity include risk of high blood pressure; type 2 diabetes (recently only prevalent in adults); higher risk of developing heart disease; trouble breathing; problems sleeping.
* Emotional complications of obesity include low self esteem, anxiety and depression.
* Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for more than 300,000 deaths each year.
* The annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion.
* The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity for children.
Tell me, please, why PE classes are not a top priority in today's public school systems? Childhood obesity is a serious problem! ...
While I support the enrichment classes, (music, chorus, band, Spanish, art) that our children take today, I'm sure they do nothing to help prevent future health problems or increase the life expectancy of our children. With this information out there, how can you encourage parents not to support SB 474?
I understand that the day is full and time cannot be taken away from core classes for more PE time. I understand that if this bill passes, the time would come from the "enrichment classes." Well, understand this: International Obesity Task Force obesity specialist Philip James said that the only way to prevent this health catastrophe is to "cut down the consumption of empty extra calories" (high fat and high sugar food products) "and do much more to improve children's opportunities to be active." The school system is already on board with half of the solution by providing nutritious lunches. So why aren't they on board for more opportunities to be active? Why isn't everyone?
We hold the school system responsible for teaching our children art, music, spanish, band, etc., when not every student is musically inclined, artistically talented, or has an interest in these areas. What every student does have, however, is the ability to move physically and if exposed to early and taught in an encouraging environment, they just might develop a life long habit of physical exercise, and live a long and healthy life.
Why is physical education less important than the arts? Classes are offered locally after school in all of these subjects, for a fee, just as are organized team sports, individual sport lessons, and children's physical fitness classes. ...
Often both parents work and have a hard time managing their schedule to include physical activity for their child. In a single parent home, it's often impossible for them to ensure daily exercise for their child. Letting children play outside unsupervised, even in the nicest neighborhoods in Columbia County, is not a reasonable suggestion. .... Not all children with a weight issue are able to attend and/or afford organized sports or after-school physical fitness programs. Just as most parents can't teach their child how to play the flute or speak Spanish, most parents are not involving their child in a daily physical fitness program either. The public school system is the most logical place for more opportunity for physical fitness to occur.
Are our children going to die if they have less time in enrichment classes? Certainly not. But if they don't start eating healthy and establish a daily habit of physical fitness, they just might.
If you encourage parents not to support this bill, you are doing it at the expense of our children's lives and their future health. Parents, if you don't support this bill, you are doing the same. ...
Lisa C. Lawrence
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