New Presidential Youth Fitness Program: Will Kids with High Body Fat Get Singled Out?

Friday, September 14th, 2012 by from Buzzworthy Bulletins

New Presidential Youth Fitness Program: Will Kids with High Body Fat Get Singled Out? Picture

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!!

For more information on your child’s health, check out our Parents Medical Corner!

What do you think? New Presidential Youth Fitness Program: Will Kids with High Body Fat Get Singled Out?

Kim ShannonEditor

Kimberly Shannon is a wife, a mother, an editor, a writer ... She is always working to find the perfect balance¹! After Kimberly received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she worked on two master’s degree programs (Creative Writing, and Marriage and Family Therapy). At various times in her life she has signed up to study Naturopathy, only to back out at the last minute, and humored the idea of returning full-time to the world of dance. Kimberly has also started 10 different children ... More

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10 comments

  1. Avatar of Tiffany Tiffany says:

    Additionally no matter how much information we give an elementary school student we can not expect them to take control of their health on their own….they are a child! I think were are expecting to much from them. Many adults can’t even take control of their own health much less a very young child.

  2. Avatar of Tiffany Tiffany says:

    There are some major problems with this program including that P.E. teachers are NOT doctors and should not be able to "diganose" a child as unhealthy. Also these test are done in elementary school when many children just have baby fat…We allready have a problem with young girls having body images. I believe the sasticis were 75% of girls going on a diet before 3rd grade/ 7 years old. I could see the number of children with eating disorderseing rising greatly due to being labled an unhealthy.

  3. Avatar of Brittony Brittony says:

    Well said mommabear. I completely agree!

  4. Avatar of MommyMagic MommyMagic says:

    Mommabear took the words right out of my mouth! :)

  5. it depends i have no idea =D

  6. Avatar of mommabear mommabear says:

    "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”?"
    I don’t think the separation WILL occur, because it already has. Kids are not blind. They can see who "needs improvement" without the title being given to them. At least now those that fall into that category will get some solid guidelines and help. The fact is, we need to give kids things to work toward, concrete goals to accomplish, honors to earn. As a society, we cannot continue to give everyone a trophy for showing up and then expect anyone to try harder. That is what we have come to: a place where people believe they deserve to be rewarded just for showing up. And that’s not what real life is like. Honor those who are doing great, help those that are not seems like a pretty good program to me.

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