Friday, May 19, 2006

Childhood Obesity: A New Report From NCES

The U.S. Department of Education is announcing the release of a new National Center for Education Statistics report about childhood obesity: Calories In, Calories Out: Food And Exercise in Public Elementary Schools. Not surprisingly, the report finds that our kids are getting larger:
The rate of obesity among school-age children has become a national concern, with the number of overweight children aged 6 to 11 more than tripling over the past three decades (U.S. Government Accountability Office 2005).

One way to address this health issue in schools is to emphasize an "energy balance" approach-calories consumed versus calories expended-to support healthy eating and an active lifestyle. This report is based on a survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. It presents current national information for public elementary schools on the availability of foods outside of full school meals, the opportunities for students to engage in physical activity, and the physical assessment of students.
Read the whole thing.

As one might suspect, the report is chock full of interesting statistics to chew over.

One that really grabbed my attention was the finding that some 94% of elementary schools sold food outside of full school meals.

Another was that some sixty-four percent of the schools used nontraditional physical education activities, such as dance or kick-boxing, to make physical education enjoyable.

When I was a KidWonk growing up in Florida, our school system's P.E. program consisted primarily of running, running... and .... more running.

Oh yes. And we used to take that *!!#@ "Presidential Physical Fitness Award" each and every year.

Update:(05/20) I've gotta agree with what commenter Mike has to say.
See our latest education-related entries right here.