Bake sales used to be the highlight of any school function, with mountains of cupcakes and muffins, and bundt cakes galore, tempting the taste buds of kindergartners and teachers alike. But that may be changing soon, as schools are beginning to make bake sale restrictions in light of America’s ever-expanding waistline.
The public school system in Maryland’s Montgomery County, for instance, is no longer allowing its districts to hold bake sales, even if the fundraisers are for a good cause. This is because selling sweets has been outlawed during the school day, and the new ban is taken rather seriously, according to Marla Caplon of Montgomery County’s food and nutrition services, who says officials ‘make the rounds’ daily to ensure no one’s breaking the rules.
“If a bake sale is going on, it’s reported to administration and it’s taken care of,” she says. “You can’t sell Girl Scout cookies, candy, cakes, any of that stuff.” (more…)
Six-time “Mr. World Fitness,” Franco Carlotto is bringing his proven children’s fitness program, Fitness for Kids, to the United States. This program for elementary school aged children helps teach them healthy habits to combat the problem of childhood obesity. Fitness for Kids has been a success in Switzerland over the last five years and Carlotto is hoping for the same success here in the states.
The Kick-Off Event for Fitness for Kids took place at Tarzana Elementary in Los Angeles with boxing star Laila Ali and NFL player Curtis Conway acting as Ambassadors. Overall there are over 80 Ambassadors internationally. The Ambassadors range from Olympic medalists, actors, politicians and American sports icons.
The Fitness for Kids initiative aims to help American kids embrace respectful life attitudes, track daily activity and incorporate healthy nutrition into their lives. This program is a great way for kids and parents to work together towards the goal of getting kids to live healthier lives at a younger age.
It appears that girls who get a ride to school each morning don’t perform as well on tests as their classmates who walk to school. The benefits of exercise are numerous and we already know that it has the ability to improve brain-function and memory. Increased blood-flow to the brain and the extra time to reflect clearly offers an advantage to girls who walk to school, regardless of how much exercise they get during the rest of their day. What’s not so clear is that the same cannot be said for boys. There’s no noticeable difference among boys who walk to school versus those who drive. We’re obviously working with some unseen factors that need to be explored more in-depth.
It’s possible that boys are more active throughout their daily routines so an extra fifteen minutes in the morning doesn’t make much of a difference. It’s also possible that differences among brain structure and hormone development influence the immediate effects of exercise. Regardless of the fuzzy details, it can be agreed that all children benefit from an active lifestyle. Only half of US children partake in one hour of moderate exercise each day. What’s worse is that even fewer teens achieve the recommended amount of daily exercise.
With childhood obesity numbers on the rise, you might think that schools are doing everything they can to help their students meet their daily exercise needs. Not so in 32 states. According to National Association for Sport and Physical Education spokeswoman Paula Kun, the numbers of states who allow students an exemption from P.E. class has been on the rise since 2006.
Students who are enrolled in marching band, cheerleading, and interscholastic sports are often allowed to use an exemption to avoid P.E. class. There are also exemptions allowed for disability or religious reasons.
“Unfortunately, so many schools are having more and more waivers — particularly at the high school level,” Kun says. “The great majority of high school students are required to take physical education only one year out of the four. They get out for religious reasons, for ROTC, for marching band. There’s a whole slew of waiver possibilities.”
Students no longer need fret over being the last one chosen for team games in gym class. In D.C. area public schools, physical education is shifting its focus to individual fitness and personal health and away from team games. “The trend is to move away from competitiveness,” explains P.E. teacher Donald Hawkins.
Browne Education Campus has adopted the SPARK program, which stands for Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids. The program is specifically designed to fight childhood obesity. The new curriculum features age-appropriate fitness activities that keep kids active for the full class period. Not only are the activities designed to get kids moving more than traditional gym class, they also incorporate lessons about health and the body. (more…)