Support Children's Health in Duval County, Keep PE in Our Schools | Families

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Support Children's Health in Duval County, Keep PE in Our Schools
Support Children's Health in Duval County, Keep PE in Our Schools

On Wednesday, May 18, 2011, the Duval County Public School Board began making recommendations to Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals for the 2011-2012 budget. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association understands the school board is working with the best intentions and is in an unfortunate financial situation.

However, the American Heart Association is concerned increasing the class size in art, music, and PE would greatly reduce the quality of instruction.  In addition, it is possible afterschool sports and activities might be reduced or even eliminated and without afterschool transportation many students with working parents would be unable to participate. Students in the lowest family income brackets would be disproportionately impacted and we know these families are often vulnerable to both high rates of obesity and high dropout rates.

What is the problem? In the past 30 years obesity in the United States has tripled.  One of every three children or teenagers is overweight or obese. Obesity has been directly linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and other health problems costing the country an additional $147 billion a year in health care. The financial costs of obesity to the local community in terms of health care costs and other indirect costs, such as time away from work, are significant. Total costs of overweight and obesity were estimated at $357 million in 2003 for Duval County.

How will Physical Education help solve the problem? Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, diabetes, and early death. However, children are currently not receiving enough physical activity to counter the obesity epidemic. A recent study showed the plaque buildup in the neck arteries of obese children or those with high cholesterol is similar to those levels seen in middle-aged adults and the presence of abnormal cholesterol in adolescents is 20.3%.  Unfortunately more and more children are getting diabetes due to obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity., in fact 23% of all deaths in the United States are linked to sedentary lifestyles.  

Why is it Important to have PE taught by Certified PE Teachers?One of the many factors causing the obesity problem is lack of physical activity and learning how to live a healthy active life. Highly qualified physical education teachers possess the skills and knowledge to facilitate improved teaching practices, strengthen the quality of physical education instruction, and empower students to achieve and maintain healthy, active lifestyles.  A high-quality physical education program taught by a certified physical education teacher enhances the physical, mental, and social/emotional development of all children and helps them understand, improve, and maintain physical well-being. 

What can Citizens do about it?Now is the time for people to call their School Board members at 904-390-2885 and demand fully funded Physical Education for our children in Duval County. Help us tell people to let their  School Board member know they want  children to grow up living healthy, happy, active lives free of chronic disease. We need to tell the School Board members we care about the children of Duval County and   hope they care enough to keep Physical Education in the schools. 

 

The American Heart Association  is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.

 

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association will advocate for strategies that promote sound public policy aimed at reducing heart disease and stroke. We have a government relations team in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Learn who your federal and staff contacts are and how to reach them for state and local issues.

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