Overcoming Childhood Obesity

ChildHood Obesity


The obesity rate in today’s youth is climbing at an alarming rate. With the popularity of computer games and lack of physical education in our schools, many of our children fail to meet minimum fitness standards. Having taught Physical Education in Tampa, FL, it was sad to see high school students who simply could not run a lap around the standard size track without stopping. In addition to a severe lack of cardiovascular conditioning, a majority of children fail simple coordination, balance and agility tests, too. School districts around the nation are failing our children by continuing to minimize the importance of Physical Education programs. In high schools, the majority of Physical Education classes have a ratio of 40:1. With this type of class size being the norm, physical education teachers have a hard time constructing quality lessons when the emphasis is shifted to quantity control. Even more alarming, high school students now have the option to opt of PE in a school setting and actually complete their one-year PE requirement online. Imagine that. The high school PE requirement had already been reduced to one-year, and now it has become an on-line course. Absurd. No wonder our health costs are soaring in this country. We are enabling a generation of in-active children who do not understand the importance of physical fitness in their lives.

There have been numerous research studies documenting the benefits of fitness and academic performance in children. A recent research study conducted in 2010 at the University of Illinois found an association between physical fitness and the brain in 9 and 10 year old children. The study concluded that the children who are fit tend to perform better on tests of memory than their less fit peers. One would think with this research, our politicians and school districts would recognize the importance of fitness for our children and ultimately fight to bring back quality physical education programs in our schools. Many teachers have taken on the responsibility of implementing physical fitness into their curriculum. For instance, The Puma Team at Wesley Chapel Elementary School implemented a Morning Miler program with their gifted students. In the beginning of the year, the students research and present the benefits of exercise on the brain. With their newfound knowledge, the students then begin their training twice a week in the morning as soon as school begins. They are excited to run and essentially build healthy brain cells and physical endurance. Their mile runs are recorded so that they can see their progress. The goal during the year is to outdo their personal best each quarter. The teachers will attest to the fact that the benefits of having their students run carries over into their academics. It really does make a difference.

In a nutshell, our children need a strong physical fitness program to help them improve both physically and academically. Part of the Tampa Strength Academy’s mission will be to serve our local children by offering quality fun, fitness programs so they can realize the benefits of fitness and live a long, smart, and healthy life.

Other Posts