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Running Behind: The lack of adequate physical education in New York Public Schools. Sarah Szlam October 2009 Legislative Advocacy. Why does physical education matter?. Weight control Reduces blood pressure Raises HDL ("good") cholesterol

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running behind the lack of adequate physical education in new york public schools

Running Behind:The lack of adequate physical education in New York Public Schools

Sarah Szlam

October 2009

Legislative Advocacy

why does physical education matter
Why does physical education matter?
  • Weight control
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Raises HDL ("good") cholesterol
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes and some kinds of cancer
  • Improves psychological well-being, including gaining more self-confidence and higher self-esteem 
  • Strengthens your heart, lungs, bones and muscles and gives you more energy
  • Helps you handle stress and sleep better
  • Physically fit students tend to outscore their peers who are less-fit on academic tests
how do we define obesity
How do we define obesity?
  • Overweight= BMI at or above 85th percentile
  • Obese= BMI at or above 95th percentile
the obesity epidemic
The Obesity Epidemic
  • Increases in prevalence overweight youth from 1970s to 2006 Nationwide
    • In 2-5 yo up from 5% to 12.4%
    • In 6-11yo up from 4% to 17%
    • In 12-19 yo up from 6.1% to 17.6%
  • Since 1980 alone the percentage of youth considered obese has tripled
  • New York City has 1.1 million public school students
  • Compared with children nationwide, NYC children are more likely to be obese (21% vs. 17%) and overweight (18% vs. 14%).
  • 43% of NYC public elementary students are overweight or obese
    • 1 in 5 kindergarteners and 1 in 4 1st graders
how does this affect our youth
Annual hospital costs related to obesity for youth alone 1997-1999 were 127 million

Up from 35 million in 1979-1981

Increases in diabetes and hypercholesterolemia

Poor self esteem

Increased medical problems in adulthood

How does this affect our youth?
how is ny combating obesity physical education regulation
Department of the Commissioner

Established in 1982, reissued in 1995

K-3: daily PE with minimum 120 min/wk

4-6: PE ≥3x/wk with minimum 120 min/wk

7-12: ≥3x/wk in one and ≥2x/wk in the other semester; avg 90min/wk

How is NY combating obesity?Physical Education Regulation

NYS Dept of the Commissioner

are the regulations working new york state audit
Are the regulations working?New York State Audit
  • 20 school districts 7/07-7/08
  • 19 of 20 failed to meet requirements
  • For K-3: only 48% met the number of required classes and 72% met required class time
    • Avg of ~60 min of PE/wk
  • For 4-6: 77% met class time
  • For 7-12: most schools were in compliance
new york city audit
New York City Audit
  • January 08, 100 elementary and 50 middle schools randomly surveyed
  • 96% 3rd grade and 88% 4th grade classrooms in violation
  • 57% of the elementary schools offer PE only ONCE/week
  • 69% 6th grade classrooms in violation
why schools are failing to comply with regulation
Lack of time

Increasing academic standards and testing

No increase in length of school day

Lack of adequate staffing

Unable to hire trained PE teachers

Lack of facilities

Several schools without access to gym and/or playground

Some facilities small, outdated, unsafe

Some schools with facilities fear students will get hurt

Failure to plan PE

Lack of daily classroom/gym plans specific for phys ed.

Why schools are failing to comply with regulation
how is ny responding
How is NY Responding
  • New offices/positions at Dept of Education specifically to tackle the epidemic
    • Office of Fitness and Health Education created by Mayor Bloomberg
    • Looking to allocate funding for equipment/resources
    • No current move to adjust guidelines due to classroom time restrictions or schools lacking resources
      • Looking to increase physical education requirements, not lower them due to barriers
    • No major changes (resources, financial changes, education for those lacking space/time on how to make progress) provided to target the specific problems found in the audit
other changes made in ny schools
Other changes made in NY schools
  • Fitnessgram
    • NYC FITNESSGRAM is the citywide fitness assessment that is part of physical education
    • Fitnessgram was piloted in 2005 by the DOE
  • CHAMPS middle school sports and fitness league
    • Before and after-school fitness/sport activities
  • Healthy Kids Healthy Schools
    • Healthier school lunches and vending machine options
    • Prohibition of bake sales
    • Education on healthy eating at home
fitnessgram
Fitnessgram
  • Measures aerobic capacity, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition
  • Students and parents receive annual individual reports that explain the significance of each measure
  • Provides suggestions to help students reach and maintain lifelong health-related fitness.
  • Provides minimal education about obesity, physical fitness
  • What is tested is not necessarily what is practiced in school
  • May be confusing to parents
outside of schools other ways ny is trying to encourage physical activity
Outside of schools: other ways NY is trying to encourage physical activity
  • Schoolyards to Playgrounds Program
    • Opening playgrounds after school/on weekends to the public
    • Survey showed poorly maintained program/compliance
  • TV “turnoff” weeks promotion in all public and private schools
  • “Eat Well, Play Hard” community projects
    • Local communities working to find ways to increase opportunities for physical activity
  • Twelve Healthy Eating and Active Living by Design contracts
    • Building more walkable/bikeable neighborhoods
what we are already doing healthy schools healthy families
What We are Already Doing:Healthy Schools Healthy Families
  • Healthy Schools Healthy Families (HSHF) promotes healthy lifestyles and mental well-being through community partnerships, identifies and addresses unmet health needs in the entire school community using a school-based decision making model

Schools Served:

  • East Harlem: PS 102 (350 students) & PS 206 (300 students)
  • Central Harlem: PS 180 (580 students)
  • Washington Heights: PS 4 (670 students), PS 128 (850 students), PS 132 (900 students) & PS 152 (960 students)
  • ~4,600 current combined census

On-Site Staffing:

    • One Program Coordinator and one Family Care Worker per every 2 schools
    • Two Nutritionists cover all seven schools
    • One Physical Activity Liaison covers all seven schools
    • HSHF school-based staff collaborates with the teachers, school aides and school administration in all healthy lifestyles programming
comparison of physical activity outliers
Comparison of Physical Activity Outliers

*PS 152 has a full time dance teacher on staff. Some students have dance either instead of, or in addition to gym, at least once a week. (FT = Full time)

how we can help
How we can help
  • Ask about resources patients have
    • At school
    • At home
  • Ask about barriers
    • Lack of school PE
    • Lack of education about physical education
    • Lack of resources and lack of knowing what resources may be available
  • Provide education, encouragement and resources
resources for us
Resources for Us
  • http://www.nycgovparks.org/befitnyc
    • Great information on local parks
    • Broken down by age, location, type of activity
  • www.cdc.gov
    • Lots of information on guidelines, statistics, resources
  • http://schools.nyc.gov/default.htm
    • Information about current guidelines, resources for providers and parents
references
References
  • http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/FitnessandHealth/CHAMPS/default.htm
  • http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/FitnessandHealth/default.htm
  • http://www.cooperinstitute.org/products/grams/index.cfm
  • http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/obesity/
  • http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/physicalactivity/index.htm
  • http://schools.nyc.gov/default.htm