Cuts to Health and PE Programs Cause Increase in Teen Pregnancy

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It’s just crazy. Health and physical education classes are often the first subjects to be cut when school boards face budget and curriculum pressures.

Of course, it’s important for students to know the 3R’s, but health and PE programs will save their lives. Literally! Students get only one body in their lifetime and unless they receive the information and tools to keep it healthy, they risk premature heart disease, diabetes,obesity and a poor quality of life.

They also risk a danger that those who cut HPE programs might not have anticipated – an increase in teen pregnancy. Comprehensive health and PE programs includes sex education, which covers the potential dangers of sexual activity. And students who have had such programs are less likely to become pregnant.

Here’s just one example. Massachusetts experienced a decrease in teen birth rate from the years 1996 to to 2005. This was a period of increased health education funding for schools,

However, much of that funding was cut in 2002. By 2005, the effects were being felt. In 2005, 15 of 25 communities involved in a state-wide survey experienced an increase in teen birth rate. For some it was dramatic. For example the city of New Bedford went from a teen birth rate of 58.9 per thousand to 70 per thousand in 2005!

It’s another risk to which administrators subject our children when they cut health and PE programs. It’s time for education administrators to wake up and realize that these subjects are not frills – they are necessities!

Reference: Charis Anderson, Consequences for Life – Teen Pregnancies rise after priority changes force cutbacks in health education for children. New Bedford Standard-Times, April 20, 2008

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]teen pregnancy,physical education,health class[/tags]

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