New Presidential Youth Fitness Program: Will Kids with High Body Fat Get Singled Out?
A new physical education (PE) program is replacing the old presidential fitness test, which focused on a child’s athletic performance and abilities. However, will the new program actually benefit our children, or will it cause greater chance for vulnerability and segregation?
According to WebMD Health News, this new, modern program – one result of first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative – will focus on the children’s health.
“We have a better understanding of what it means to be a healthy kid,” Mrs. Obama said. “One of the reasons I’m excited about the new program is because kids won’t be measured on how fast they can run compared to their classmates, it’ll be based on what they can do and what their own goal is. This is important because we want physical activity to be a lifelong habit.”
Shellie Pfohl, executive director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, says this new program is to address the “obesity epidemic in our country.”
All of this sounds great!! But there is more … and it worries me.
The program has a fitness assessment, called “Fitnessgram,” which will use a variety of tests to analyze each student in five different areas: cardiovascular fitness or aerobic capacity, body composition, muscle strength, and flexibility. Then each test score will be evaluated, and students will receive their overall score.
The next step of this assessment is where my over-sensitive Parental Red Flag appears.
“A student who scores in the healthy fitness zone in five out of six events is eligible to receive the Presidential Youth Fitness Award. Students whose results are below the healthy fitness zone standards are placed in the ‘needs improvement’ zone. Within the needs improvement zone there are two levels based on how far below the standard they fall: ‘needs improvement – some risk’ and ‘needs improvement – high risk.’”
Avery Faigenbaum, EdD, professor of exercise science at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, N.J., says, “It’s a good thing that we now have a plan in place to identify youth in America with low physical fitness and high body fat.”
Children who are in the “needs improvement” category are given information about any health risks they may face and are taught how to improve their health.
It’s good that this program will concentrate on lowering the “obesity epidemic” America’s children are currently facing, while also teaching them how to live a healthier life – but do you think an obvious separation will occur between those who receive the Presidential Youth Fitness Award and those who are officially given the title “Needs Improvement”?
Share your opinions below!!
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What do you think? New Presidential Youth Fitness Program: Will Kids with High Body Fat Get Singled Out?