The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being. See the report--Childhood Obesity Facts--published by the CDC. After reading the statistics on the increasing numbers of overweight adolescents, perhaps adults need to find ways to promote exercise programs for children.
West Virginia has launched a new initiative to fund "exergaming" systems for their schools. The State Department of Health and Human Resources provided the grant to the State Department of Education to purchase new Xbox 360 Kinect systems "to help bolster physical education and health classes throughout the state," according to Melanie Purkey, Director of the Education Department’s Office for Healthy Schools.
"State officials in West Virginia have spent $90,000 on 286 new West Virginia funds ‘exergaming’ systems for schools," posted on eClassroom News.game systems in the hope the machines can be used to motivate 21st century schoolchildren to exercise," according to the article, "
Purkey added, "Players use their own body movement to control the video games," a method she and others believe can help improve student health.
What is your impression of "exergaming"?
Do you think this type of exercise will provide the same results as participating in athletic games such as soccer, tennis, baseball, basketball, and others?
Our TV news station ran a report yesterday evening stating that young children who were obese scored lower test scores in math than young children who were not obese. While I don't agree that the link can only be made to math test scores, it is obvious that "Let's Move" is an apt motto for the young.
A student using his/her own body movement to control vido games or participating in sports of any kind is getting up off of the couch and moving. Whatever motivates my child to exercise is good.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on exercise for children. I agree that the motto "Let's Move" is a great one for motivating the young (or any age). Since children like the engagement provided by video games, I would imagine they would be intrigued by seeing their body movements control video actions.
I purchased a Wii last year, and the dance videos have definitely kept me moving. I also enjoy playing some of the sports games. Admittedly, I have broken a sweat just chasing tennis balls and swinging the baseball bat (Wii controller) as I challenged the players on the TV video game.
I think it is important for children to find ways to keep moving instead of lounging on the couch.
I suspect there are adults who could benefit as much from "exergaming" as children.
Speaking of adults who could benefit from "exergaming", many of our Senior Centers are putting a Wii unit in place and the seniors seem to love it.
Maybe we are all children at heart, but seniors are taking up the challenge and using this technology to bowl, play golf or tennis, and to add strength and stability exercises to their day. The fact that their colleagues can join in team efforts in this virtual venue, or sit and watch in some cases, brings an element of social interaction to their lives too.
Will this kind of exercise add to children's getting up and moving? Yes, they are already using the technology and in many cases just sitting in front of the computer for long periods of time but at least this will get them off the couch and moving. Will it do better than having them participate in athletic games such as soccer, swimming, baseball, or basketball? Not better, imho, but it certainly will increase movement of their bodies, which is our aim.
Do any of you, who are elementary teachers, embrace this technology in your classroom? If so, how do your students and parents respond to your efforts to get your students up and moving?
While I agree that a great number of kids need to get up an move more, I'm not really sure putting video game systems in schools is the best way to combat childhood obesity. While exercise is important to a healthy lifestyle, eating habits are even more crucial. As a fitness instructor and personal trainer, as well as a teacher and parent, I often remind my class participants and clients that they can't out-exercise a bad diet. I wonder if the state has addressed the issue a need to serve of fresh, whole foods in school cafeterias? I've seen studies/reports that show if healthy meals are what's offered, kids will eat them. Or perhaps this money could have been used to educate students and their parents on purchasing and preparing healthy food at home.
This also makes me wonder if the schools that are using the gaming systems have PE and/or recess. $90,000 could buy a heck of a lot of equiptment for kids to get traditional exercise like running, jumping, throwing, climbing that they could do outside in the fresh air.
As a parent, I would not approve of my child "exergaming" at school.
I appreciate your comments. Sometimes I think we put too much emphasis on the digital environment of our children as opposed to the physical environment. I grew up with running, jumping, bean bag tossing, hide and go seek, and other outside games. I think a breath of fresh air is worth much more than the stale climate in front of a technology screen.
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Thanks for sharing.
Lynne I'm glad you mentioned some of these resources in particular the healthy eating habits. I have seen first hand the difference in my own physical well being when I eat cleaner and exercise. I think the nutritional knowledge is an important factor in this equation as well.
So much more than the 'Food Pyramid' should be taught to children as health education. Especially when public schools are offering way too many bad options in their cafeterias. Children need to see the better options as easily accessible and as appealing. Not only should health education be taught in school, but institutions need to spread the education to these children's homes. (I'm sure lots of parents could use some nutrition education too!) Making it more than just a lesson in school, but really trying to have nutrition and health integrated into a lifestyle from a young age. Diet should come before exercise, instead of trying to just motivate children to exercise to combat their unhealthy diets.
I have to agree with you Lynne. That much money for implementing technology could be put to better use such as with traditional treadmills in the schools. You simply have to assign students to walk as part of the curriculum in gym. If a video screen is the motivating factor treadmills can be equipped with screens so that students can learn something like a second language while going for that well deserved walk.
I read a CNN report recently that stated there is a direct correlation between obesity and poverty. The report--"As childhood obesity improves, will kids in poverty be left behind?"--published in CNN Health stated, "Roughly one in six U.S. children are obese, and, at last count, nearly one in three are overweight, putting them at increased risk of health problems ranging from diabetes to being bullied at school."
Do you agree that many children who are overweight or obese also live in poverty? If yes, how can educators make a difference in this trend?
I have been following the research showing how children in poverty are becoming obese at a higher rate than children in middle and upper class families. It is alarming to think that children in poverty have limited access to “real food” that is not processed such as fruits and vegetables. I watched a documentary (wish I could remember the name) about the lifestyle of Native Americans and it showed how 100% of their food was shipped to them on the reservation, so we are talking canned meats, pasta, fruits and vegetables. Most of the people on the reservation were obese. Then Subway opened up in town and it was the first time many of them had ever eaten a fresh vegetable. One teenager who worked there lost about 80 lbs in about 6 months because she was able to eat fresh vegetables. She talked about how good a fresh green pepper tasted. I thought to myself that I consider eating at Subway every day to not be the best choice for my family because of all the processed lunch meat. On the other hand, it is a better alternative than eating out of a can. I watched a rerun of I Dream of Jeannie and they referred to a platter full of cheese and cold cuts as “junk food”. So somewhere in the past 20 years, cold cuts and cheese moved from the “junk food” category into the “healthy” category. I think we have lowered our standards when it comes to feeding ourselves and our children. I am glad to see the documentaries coming out to show us how the wrong types of food can be detrimental to our health. Maybe we should show these documentaries to students at school.