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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? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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

Running BehindThe lack of adequate physical
education in New York Public Schools
  • Sarah Szlam
  • October 2009
  • Legislative Advocacy

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Why does physical education matter?
  • Weight control
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Raises HDL ("good") cholesterol
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes and some kinds of
  • Improves psychological well-being, including
    gaining more self-confidence and higher
  • 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?
  • Overweight BMI at or above 85th percentile
  • Obese BMI at or above 95th percentile

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
  • 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

Obesity Trends in the US
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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 is NY combating obesity?Physical Education
  • 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

NYS Dept of the Commissioner
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
  • January 08, 100 elementary and 50 middle schools
    randomly surveyed
  • 96 3rd grade and 88 4th grade classrooms in
  • 57 of the elementary schools offer PE only
  • 69 6th grade classrooms in violation

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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
  • 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.

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
  • No current move to adjust guidelines due to
    classroom time restrictions or schools lacking
  • 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
  • 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
  • Prohibition of bake sales
  • Education on healthy eating at home

  • Measures aerobic capacity, muscular strength and
    endurance, flexibility, and body composition
  • Students and parents receive annual individual
    reports that explain the significance of each
  • 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

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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
  • 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
  • Building more walkable/bikeable neighborhoods

What We are Already DoingHealthy 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
  • 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
  • HSHF school-based staff collaborates with the
    teachers, school aides and school administration
    in all healthy lifestyles programming

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
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
  • http//
  • Great information on local parks
  • Broken down by age, location, type of activity
  • Lots of information on guidelines, statistics,
  • http//
  • Information about current guidelines, resources
    for providers and parents

  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//
  • http//

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