My son Charlie‘s still on summer vacation for three more weeks (in fact, tomorrow is his first day of one-week summer day camp). But the next week is back to school for many children across the US — and, for many children, school is full of hazards. The Los Angeles Times notes seven ways that “school is hazardous for your child’s health,” not to mention that of the teachers, administrators and other staff who work in US public schools — and ways that you can do something about it.
Here’s the Los Angeles Times‘s list of school health hazards.
Photo by USDA Gov
These figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention really shocked me as I remember having PE almost daily up till fourth grade in northern California public schools: Only 3.8% of elementary schools, 7.9% of middle schools and 2.1% of high schools have daily physical education or its equivalent for the entire school year. 22% of schools don’t even require students to take P.E..
The CDC and the Institute of Medicine recommend 150 minutes of physical education a week for children in elementary school and 225 minutes a week for middle school and high school, and that 50% of that be spent on moderate to physical exercise — recommendations that very few schools actually meet.
The Los Angeles Times points out that No Child Left Behind requirements that all students meet standards for reading and math have led to a greater focus on standardized test scores and many schools, especially those in low-income and urban areas, have canceled P.E. and gym class. Furthermore, school districts have been retiring jungle gyms “in droves,” eliminating a key way for children to gain muscle strength and, according to some studies, learn about “risk-taking and overcome natural fears.” First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! offers many suggestions about how to “school a more active place,” which has benefits not only for fighting obesity, but for helping students’ in-classroom behavior and overall learning.
Read more: back-to-school, bullying, cafeteria, cyber bullying, Cyberbullying, gym class, health, health hazards, high school, kids health, middle school, nutrition, obesity, PE, school, sleep, stress, students, teachers
Photo by Matt McGee
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