Longer gym class periods reduce childhood obesity

May 20, 2013, Medical Daily

By Ashik Siddique

More time in gym class actually does reduce the likelihood that young children will become obese, according to a new study published in the Journal of Health Economics. The findings are some of the first evidence that physical education (P.E.) directly impacts the weight of elementary school children, say the researchers.

Organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have been advocating for longer gym class periods for some time, recommending that children under the age of 17 should spend at least one hour per day in some kind of physical activity. Continue reading

Future of fitness: St. Paul school at forefront of measuring student health

May 2, 2013, St. Paul Pioneer Press

By Mila Koumpilova

Carolyn Will once got stomachaches as she braced for the annual Presidential Physical Fitness Test, the decades-old staple of gym class.

But her son, a fourth-grader at St. Thomas More Catholic School in St. Paul, looks forward to the test: He logs in sit-ups at home and coaches his cousin on proper sprinting form. Will credits veteran physical education teacher Gene Parrish’s knack for firing up students — free of judgment or drill sergeant tactics.

On Parrish’s watch, the school has gained a rare distinction: In seven of the past 10 years, it was the Minnesota school with the most students who score in the top 15 percent nationwide. But last year’s award was the school’s last. Continue reading

Gym class isn’t just fun and games anymore

Feb. 18, 2013, The New York Times

By Montoko Rich

On a recent afternoon, the third-graders in Sharon Patelsky’s class reviewed words like “acronym,” “clockwise,” and “descending,” as well as math concepts like greater than, less than, and place values.

During gym class.

Ms. Patelsky, the physical education teacher at Everglades Elementary School here, instructed the students to count by fours as they touched their elbows to their knees during a warm-up. They added up dots on pairs of dice before sprinting to round mats imprinted with mathematical symbols. And while in push-up position, they balanced on one arm and used the other (“Alternate!” Ms. Patelsky urged. “That’s one of your vocabulary words”) to stack oversize Lego blocks in columns labeled “ones,” “tens,” and “hundreds.” Continue reading