NEW YORK, Aug. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- USA Today features a letter from a reader regarding the need for reform of physical education. The reader, Eric Bachman, M.D., believes that increasing physical activity within schools can improve academic focus and allow kids to break free of the sedentary lifestyle that is pervasive throughout today's society. York Prep Headmaster Ronald Stewart agrees, stating that schools should focus on helping students create healthier lifestyles.
Bachman writes that the inactive lifestyle of today's students is affecting many facets of their health: "We are witnessing another generation of our sedentary children becoming increasingly obese, at high risk for diabetes, negative body image and self-esteem, and plagued by attention-deficit disorder, as well as other psychological problems. We know from the work of John Ratey and others that consistent physical exercise effectively prevents and often reverses these and other chronic conditions."
Physical education has held a prominent role in the academic world -- at least in K-12 schools -- for generations; however, budget cuts and other educational challenges have limited the number of physical education classes that are available, as well as the resources that schools have to keep these departments running. While this may not be the only catalyst behind the call for reformation, the deep budget cuts that many school districts have felt are certainly posing a challenge for physical education professionals who are fighting to keep their classes on the course schedule.
Bachman poses a string of questions meant to focus attention on the problems that physical education faces. He asks how educators and parents can ignore the need of physical education programs, how educators can turn knowledge regarding the benefits of exercise into tangible results, and how being fit can affect the focus of students.