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ERIC Number: EJ763344
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Don't Sweat It: How Some Schools Do--and Don't Do--PE
Cullen, Bob
Education Next, v6 n4 p30-36 Fall 2006
Overweight children would not be the first thing a visitor to Grafton, West Virginia, would think of when seeing the small farms that cling to steep hillsides and cultivate the bottomland along the Tygart River as one drives into town. Like most of the state, the landscape around this village nods to pastoral enterprise, suggesting a place where citizens might be eating healthy foods, hiking, working farms and mines--staying fit. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In a survey done between 1999 and 2005 by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Science, 46 percent of West Virginia's 5th graders were found to be either obese or overweight. This concerns the state government, which has decreed a doubling of physical education (PE) class hours for middle-school students, who currently get one exercise period a day for nine weeks out of an entire school year. Though weight is the result of a complex set of interactions between an individual's genes, behavior, and the environment, at its simplest, as a recent National Institutes of Health report states, a person's size is the result of "a balance between energy intake and energy expenditures." This article discusses the second of these two fundamentals, energy expenditures, and what schools are doing to affect the equation. The author visited several schools to assess the likelihood that schools can help stem the obesity tide. He observed their PE classes and concluded that these classes as currently conducted are not particularly efficient burners of calories or builders of muscle. (Contains 1 figure.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 5; High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Maryland; United States; Virginia; West Virginia