California kids physically unfit,
leading "sedentary lives"
By Elizabeth Daley, Bay City News Service
January 28, 2007
The dismal data came in November, revealing California's public
school students performed poorly on the state's physical fitness
test. This week, The California Endowment has released a report
documenting what they call "a crisis in California school
The study conducted in 77 public schools, found that on average,
only four minutes of every half hour of physical education class
involves vigorous physical activity. In addition, elementary schools
surveyed fell 32 minutes short on average of the required 200
minutes of minimum physical education mandated to occur every
10 days by state law.
"In order to combat California's child obesity epidemic,
we must make physical education a higher priority in California's
schools," said Dr. Robert K. Moss, president and CEO of The
Of the 77 schools surveyed, including schools in 11 Bay Area
elementary school districts, only Palo Alto Unified in Santa Clara
and Oak Grove Elementary in Sonoma made the grade for their physical
Upon reviewing results of the state physical fitness exam in
November, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack
O'Connell said California physical fitness scores "show
a modest 1 percent gain in overall performance compared to last
O'Connell said, "These numbers tell us that too many of
our students are leading sedentary lives exacerbated by poor eating
habits. This is a destructive trend that has resulted in an epidemic
of childhood obesity and must be reversed.''
The endowment found students in lower income schools tended to
spend less time being active in physical education classes and
that students in large physical education classes only spent 10
percent of class time being active.
"It is clear from these studies that low quality PE is contributing
to health disparities. We must quickly adopt these practices in
schools serving low-income students who are at greatest risk of
obesity," said Dr. Antoinette Yancey co-author of Failing
Fitness, in a statement.
"Particularly notable is that schools with the highest quality
most active PE had higher achievement test scores," James
F. Sallis, director of the Active Living Research Program at San
Diego State University said in a statement.
"We should be very concerned, for our student's health,
their academic success and the long-term effects this will have,"
O'Connell said in November.
The endowment has outlined suggestions to help shape-up California's
physical education policies. The endowment recommends smaller
class sizes, with classes taught by qualified instructors, funding
to improve athletic facilities in low-income schools, enforcement
of state minimum requirements, and an enhanced value of physical
education within school communities.
"We strongly urge educators, parents, local officials and
state policymakers to apply these reports' recommendations to
address the deficiencies in physical education classes throughout
the state," said California Endowment CEO Moss.
Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.