Letter to Congress
I am writing this letter because of my concern for the health of our children who are failing physical fitness tests. The rate of failure appears to be not only in our state but throughout the United States. This is an academic point until one realizes the health consequences. Children are passing their failed fitness into the adult period developing chronic diseases. Over eighty percent of health costs from chronic diseases accounted for 2.6 trillion dollars of health spending in 2010, (Kaiser Health News). The unfit person is 3-4 times more likely to die early compared to the fit person, (Finnish researchers- Archives of Internal Medicine). This includes whether a person is obese or skinny.
All the literatures states the solution to prevent chronic disease from occurring is early intervention. Fifty seven percent of children failed a test of strength and flexibility of key postural muscles in 1954, (K- W report to President Eisenhower). Eight percent of European children failed the same test in 1954. Up to seventy five percent of over a million children in California and Texas failed to score in a healthy fitness zone, (www.sjgate.com).
It is worth noting that obesity was not responsible for the failed fitness in 1954 because few of these children were overweight. The problem then and more so today is children are texting and watching TV over 30 hours a week. Their motors are only operating in idle or second gear. A great percent of our children have just enough fitness that allows them to sit, stand, walk and occasionally run. They need to shift into overdrive. Most children have only a movement level of about three to five Mets. An activity level of over seven or more Mets is needed for an adult minimum daily living expenditure, (Metabolic Equivalent Tasks Chart, 2006).
The fitness failures today are due to chronic inactivity not the obesity. People who lose the weight may still be more susceptible to disease and early death if they are unfit.
Over 90 % of our elementary schools do not offer daily one hour of physical education. Those schools that do provide limited physical education classes only exercise children an average of four minutes in heightened activity.
We need to renovate/build appropriate facilities and employ a special teaching staff who will be able to give our children what they need to develop fit bodies and minds. The time taken from studies will not lower scores but increase academic achievement, (Active Living Research-2007). There is a crucial need to start developing bodies and brain structure early to counter the threat of this motion disease.
Please craft legislation to help our children! To become further educated about the severity and solution of this failed fitness epidemic go to www.kidsfailedfitness.Org .