Children Not Exercising Enough
Most third graders say P.E. is their favorite class, but students at Columbia Public School only have gym twice a week. That means they only exercise about one hour a week in school.
Columbia Public School District spokeswoman Patty Cornell said P.E. teachers cram a lot into that hour.
"It's an extensive core curriculum that involves all aspects of physical education," said Cornell. "Everything from fitness and wellness to learning how to jump rope, all kinds of ball skills, team sports."
Despite all the efforts to help students get fit, the CDC reports that P.E. classes throughout the nation are declining, especially for high school students.
Cornell said Columbia schools are following the national trend because there just aren't enough facilities.
"Well we would love to have physical education everyday, but we don't have the facilities for it," said Cornell. "We are packed at Paxton Keeley. This gym is used every minute of the day. So until we get more facilities, its very hard to implement a five day program."
Approximately one in every four children in the United States is overweight. With physical education programs across the nation doing the best they can, parents can help their children stay fit by taking an active role.
"I am very physically active and I try to incorporate that at home and in school," said parent Wendy Ostempowski. "Every morning we get up and we try to take a bike ride before school. And when we get home we keep the TV off and we go outside and we do a lot of running around. And I do it with them so they understand that they are learning by example as well."
Cornell said that parents also should talk to the school board and legislators about more support for physical education programs.