Statistics are proving a frightening trend for today’s children; their lack of physical exercise and sedentary lifestyles are quite possibly going to cause them to be the first generation who will not outlive their parents. Catholic schools in Orlando believe in educating the complete child: mind, body, and spirit. To that end, our schools emphasize physical activity in the form of standard physical education classes or more structured sports teams. The Diocese of Orlando has been associated with Catholic Youth Sports since 1991. We strive to encourage our students to maintain a healthy lifestyle since health is an integral factor in the ability to learn.
Unhealthy Lifestyles are an Issue
Though the National health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the CDC reports that about 17 percent of youth between 2011-2014 were obese. As youths age, obesity rates increase. In the study, about nine percent of two to five year olds were obese. That nearly doubles to a 17.5% obesity rate in youths ages six to 11. Of those 12 and older, About 21% were classified as being obese. Fingers are pointing at video games and computer usage.
A fast-food lifestyle is proving to be a health downfall. When parents consistently opt to purchase a high-calorie, inexpensive cheeseburger and fries from a diner, the results can jeopardize the health of their children in the long run. A high-fat, high-sugar diet leads to increases in both diabetes and heart disease.
Physical Education in Public and Private Schools
The No Child Left Behind act and state budgets have both cut physical activity from education. With the focus on essential classes (those with nationally-mandated exams), “extra” classes, such as art, music, and PE, are generally cut.
Catholic schools emphasize the importance of physical activity. It has been noted that elementary students require an outlet to release their pent-up energy or they become less focused in the classroom. Older students also note the same loss of focus as well as more aggressive classroom behavior.
Addressing the Issue
To counter this troubling trend, break out the bikes and ride to your neighborhood soccer game, to the grocery store (bring a bike lock!), or to the library. Walk to a friend’s house or to the park. Scrape out half an hour every day to go outside and exercise, and make it a family event; children need good fitness role models.
Choose an education environment that fosters students to value physical activity. Confidence and a stronger self-image are recognized when students participate in physical activity. Also, activity releases the “feel good” hormones called endorphins that calm moods and relieve stress. The brain also benefits from exercise as movement stimulates different centers of the brain. Lack of activity, on the other hand, leaves students feeling lethargic. Other strengths developed by physical activity include motor skill coordination, improved judgment, self-discipline, good sportsmanship, teamwork, and the ability to set goals and overcome obstacles, all of which easily carry over into the classroom.
Physical education is more than just a break in the day; it is a necessary course that accentuates other classes and improves classroom discipline. Students who regularly participate in sports improve their grades and are more likely to take part in class discussions and activities.
Orlando Catholic schools have long recognized the importance of activity once or several times a day to keep students on the cutting edge of their academics. Call the Diocese of Orlando today at 407-246-4903 to learn our education philosophy and how each of our schools is involved in a physical education program. Our blogs discuss many factors your child may choose to stimulate learning.