Guest opinion: Regular exercise can save livesWe face an obesity epidemic not only in Minnesota and the United States but also on a global basis. Adult obesity rates increased in 16 states in the past year and have not shown a reduction in any state.
By: Joe McCarthy, The Farmington Independent
We face an obesity epidemic not only in Minnesota and the United States but also on a global basis. Adult obesity rates increased in 16 states in the past year and have not shown a reduction in any state, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011, a report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Twelve states now have obesity rates above 30 percent. Four years ago, only one state was above 30 percent. Inactivity (not terrorism or global warming or any other issue one can muster) is the No. 1 threat to America’s safety, security and welfare. By 2030, 42 percent of people in the U.S., will be obese, the study found. Currently, based on research from Duke University, about 34 percent of adults and 17 percent of children are obese. A further report by the Amer-ican Jour-nal of Pre-ventative Med-icine indicates that 32 million more people will be tipping the scales in the wrong direction. If these new estimates prove true, obesity will cost the country some $550 billion, the report stated.
Research clearly demonstrates healthy students are better learners particularly when the students are physically fit.
There is a great video on YouTube called 23 1/2 hours, what is the single biggest thing we can do for ourselves. In great detail, the video explains how physical activity reduces knee arthritis by 47 percent, dementia and alzheimers by 50 percent, diabetes by 58 percent, anxiety by 48 percent, depression by 30 percent and is the number one treatment of fatigue. Quality of life is significantly increased by regular exercise, specifically walking. If you walk more than 21 minutes a day, you will have a 29 percent reduction in high blood pressure.
How does physical activity affect our children?
Physical education and movement is the centerpiece for learning, fitness and academic achievement. When the body moves, essential nutrients are sent to the brain through the blood stream. Physical activity increases the rate of neurogenesis (area for memory and learning), releases neurotrophins (facilitates the growth of new brain cells) and increases brain activity (more circuits are involved in learning). Fitness is the key to academic achievement. There are numerous students that demonstrate the direct correlation between level of fitness and the statewide assessment. California Department of Education Study of 2001, the Texas Youth Fitness Study of 2009 and the most impressive study is the Anthony Elementary Study of 2006; results on all three studies were the same; with each fitness test passed the level of academic achievement also improves, positive behavior increases and obesity is reduced. Our goal is for our students to have the knowledge and passion to live a healthy lifestyle.
Joe McCarthy is a Meadowview Elementary School Physical Education Teacher and president of the PE Council for MNAHPERD