What are Meridian schools doing to keep student obesity at bay?

By Lauren Captain
The Meridian Times Staff Writer

It can be quite alarming to hear the statistics with obesity in the United States, but Michigan is one state to be especially worried about. From the year 1990 to 2014, the obesity rate in Michigan jumped from 13 percent of overweight people to an alarming 32.6 percent. What is most concerning about this last number is that the age group of 10 to 17 years old occupies almost half of this number. This number is 14.8 percent, which happens to almost the same number of obese people of all ages in Hawaii. This is something to notice and not ignore.

Phys ed cuts hit schools

Capital News Service
LANSING – When it comes to K-12 education, the subjects that get measured by the government are the ones that get priority during the school day – leaving physical education classes in the dust, according to Steven Cook, president of the Michigan Education Association (MEA). “It’s just reality.” Cook said. “Positions get cut. You lose your art, music and physical education because those are not on the statewide tests. How do you test for physical education, for crying out loud?

Push on to pump up physical education in schools

Capital News Service
LANSING – A recent federal study echoes concerns by Michigan health professionals that link the lack of time set aside for physical and health education classes in K-8 schools to increasing childhood obesity. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of public schools indicates that while sports opportunities for students have generally increased, the frequency of physical education classes has decreased. Noting the “federal government’s role in promoting the health and welfare of children,” the study aims to assist congressional consideration of strategies to increase physical activity among students. Katherine Knoll of Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan, a coalition dedicated to reducing obesity, said the study is relevant to the state’s situation. She cited three pending pieces of legislation to address concerns raised by the Department of Community Health.

More phys ed, health classes could fight obesity in kids

Capital News Service
LANSING- The state may require public schools to offer specific amounts of physical education at the elementary and middle schools levels, not just high school. The Michigan Department of Community Health says more physical education in schools could help Michigan’s growing obesity problem. Rep. Maureen Stapleton, D-Detroit, recently introduced a bill that would mandate every school offer physical education and health programs. The bill would establish the amount of time a student would take part in physical education during the course of the school year. The bill states that schools have a program for health and physical education for students of both sexes in all schools and that each student attending public schools that is physically able would have to take the class. The bill would allow a slow progression of more health education classes.