BASIC NATIONAL LEGISLATION PROPOSAL FOR CHIDLREN’S HEALTH FITNESS
The goal of this proposal is to oblige the White Hour and both houses of Congress to enact and approve legislation to provide adequate staffing, training and facilities for one hour of proper daily physical activity for all elementary school children. This brief provides the evidence of the need.
Two prominent specialist in childhood diseases Christian Ran Fielding M.D. and David Ludwig M.D., PhD. of Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, agree that, “what children need is less junk food, better school lunches, daily physical education in elementary and secondary school and after-school recreation activities.”
There were very few obese people in 1954 when a national study (Kraus-Weber Report to the White House) found that the American public was becoming a nation of physically sub-par people. (57% test failures for American children and 8 % for European Children*). I personally administered this test to over 1500 children. Very few children were overweight at that time. Obesity started later as a problem in the late 1980s. Children failed the physical fitness test due to chronically inactive lifestyle brought on by increased mechanical mobilization, gadgets and eventual the information age. For further test information see Bonnie Prudden, “Pain Erasure’ (2006.)
Obesity has become a national health problem. However the threat is about more than simple weight. Those who “take the weight off", but remain unfit, are still at risk for a premature death. The main problem of our current medical crisis is cause by the lack of motion. Steven Blair PED announced at the 117th annual convention of Psychology that “Chronic inactivity is the crucial health problem of the 21st century”.
The main reason for physical fitness failures now is because modern children have become sedentary watching TV, up to thirty hours or more a week, playing video games, and fueling their inactivity by eating an average of forty seven teaspoons of sugar a day and gulping down hundreds of extra carbohydrates (Cruise, 2009.) In addition, children today only move at about a 1-4 METs activity level (metabolic equivalent tasks.) One MET is the energy expenditure of the body at rest or watching television. Seven (7) METs is needed to push a wheel barrow and is considered the average necessary for a normal adult for daily activity (METs Chart, 2006.) Our children are moving through life in low gear and need to shift into overdrive.
Our achievement –driven society places high daily stress on our children. A surprising discovery is that sleep deprivation and tension cause weight-gain. An elementary school child who does not get 10 hours of sleep is 300 % more likely to develop obesity than a child who gets proper levels of sleep. For every hour less than Eight hours of sleep a high school child gets he is 80% more likely to become obese. This process is worsened by early school attendance starting time. The body protects itself by reaching into the blood stream for available energy to store as fat for a rainy day. This may be a protective fight or flight body reaction caused by stress and also contributes to loss of attention and poor academic performance at school. Our children need to have both complete—100%--inactivity (sleep,) as well as dramatically-increased physical activity to be healthy. (Bronson and Merryman, 2009.)
The benefits of physical activity as written by the Cooper Institute can be comparing to what physical education promotes. (Cooper institute, Physical Activity Recommendations and Benefits pg. 3); (Summary of Physical Education Benefits ASPE, hhsvov. 2002 pg. 5): ( Values of Physical Education and having one hour of physical education National Association for Sports and Physical education 2004).
Professor Arthur Steinhaus PhD., of George Williams University Y.C.C.A. College 1952 stated in one of his lectures to my class about physiology of exercise, “There is no other subject in the universe that develops the social, emotional, academic, physical and intellectual responses of children as daily physical education.” Motto of the M.M and Y.W.C.A., Spirit-Body-Mind.
When is the best time to treat a disease? Before the disease starts or gets a foothold. Research shows conclusively that a child with good health has a better chance at becoming a healthy adult. An unhealthy child almost always becomes an unhealthy adult. The poor fitness and lifestyle habits of our children are causing early chronic diseases in elementary school. Their unfit bodies as adult account for the majority of chronic diseases.
Chronic diseases are causing health cost to sky rocket and burdening individual state’s Medicaid programs. Many people will die early due to chronic diseases (Thorpe, 2006) there is no other activity that develops the social, emotional, physical and academic performance of children as hone hour of daily physical education does (Pennon Francis.1996)
This would be the greatest preventive medicine program since vaccinations, and will reduce national health care costs by up to fifty percent. Sub-fit children have 3-4 time greater chance of early death, from all disease, as compared to fit children as adults. (Finnish Researches, Archives of Internal Medicine.) Funding daily physical education in all elementary schools will save the government over one trillion dollars in future medical cost in one year alone while improving their long term quality of life and productivity. This more than makes up for the additional cost of funding the program requires.
The cost of physical education teacher salaries and gymnasium improvement would have to be nationally funded because forty percent (40 %) of school children nationwide are disadvantaged. (schooldatadirect.org, 2006) and there are the kids at greatest risk. The expense could be covered by the reduction in healthcare cost that results from having the program in place. This savings would be 1.3 Trillion dollars in a year to begin with and well over 2-3 trillion after a few years as fit children grow into fit adults with less chronic diseases systoms and medical charges.
The proposed program of Health Fitness should be of great interest to any government representative seeking to create job stimulate and to reduce the national debt. No other program would produce the same level of financial and health benefits while so dramatically serving our children‘s emotional, social, intellectual, and physical development.
The program would also enhance the process of education in the local school district. Relying on Little League and after School Sports Programs alone will not solve the health fitness problem facing our kids.
Daily one hour physical education in all elementary schools is the only controlled solution we have. There is no other remedy; we need to mold their minds and bodies while we have children in a structured controlled educational school environment. That Activity must include sufficient exercise time at moderate or above activity levels for all kids not just a few.
The program would call for debate and input from individual states and school districts on staffing, facility development and implementation policies. One thing is certain: we all want our kids to be happy, productive, and to live long healthy lives. We know what can be done we can afford to do it. We simply cannot afford inaction.
See bibliography for references