P.E. Teacher Move to Reduce Childhood Obesity Rates
Physical education teachers throughout Alaska are taking a very hands-on approach to get kids’ feet moving.
The push is on to get Alaska's kids off the couch and up and moving as part of a statewide effort to fight childhood obesity, and physical education teachers throughout the state are taking a very hands-on approach to get kids’ feet moving.
A mix of P.E. teachers from Alaska's villages and big cities are brainstorming to get more of Alaska's kids moving and thinking about a lifetime of healthy living.
Their goal is to reduce Alaska's high rates of obesity by encouraging more kids to be active, as part of the new Alaska physical education standards that were adopted last July.
Katie Povolo, a P.E. teacher at Government Hill Elementary in Anchorage, wants kids to know that living a healthy, active lifestyle is fun, rewarding and “provides opportunity for challenge, self expression [and] enjoyment.”
Close to 25 percent of kids statewide are either overweight or obese and teachers want to give kids the tool to be healthy.
“That's one in four kids walking in the door that is at really high risk for health conditions…diabetes, heart disease, stroke,” said State of Alaska Obesity Prevention Manager Karol Fink.
The new physical education standards and activities range from simple exercises like running and golf, to more complicated team sports.
“It’s not about learning how to win a basketball game, it’s learning how to be active, how to dribble a ball, how to be a team player,” said Fink.
But overall, teachers said it’s about getting kids to do activities they like so they are doing it outside the classroom as well as inside.
It’s a goal that Alaska's P.E. teachers are willing to take step by step in order to help their students achieve a healthy lifestyle using a combination of dance, team building, and traditional activities.
According to one report, Alaska spends $477 million a year on the medical care costs of obesity.