Quality Daily Physical Education
Will Reduce Adult Breast Cancer

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New research has revealed yet another reason why quality daily physical education is a must for all students. The study, conducted by Dr. Graham Colditz of the Washington University School of Medicine, found that exercise beginning in the teen years can protect girls from breast cancer when they become adults.

The study tracked 65,000 nurses, questioning them about their activity levels starting at the age of 12.

It was found that the women who were active from their teen years through young adulthood were 23 per cent less likely than sedentary women to develop pre-menopausal breast cancer. It was found that the age period that was most important for sustaining activity levels was 12 to 22.
How much exercise? The women with the lowest risk performed three hours and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as jogging or team sport, per week, or 13 hours per week of walking.

It is believed that exercise reduces women’s lifetime exposure to estrogen, one of the hormones that has been linked to breast cancer.

What is the best way to ensure that girls get this exercise and learn the skills they need to continue into adulthood? Mandatory daily physical education classes – taught by professionals whose focus is on lifetime fitness improvement. Make daily exercise mandatory, and teens will participate. And if they exercise on a regular basis, it will become a healthy habit they will continue throughout their lives.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women around the world, with 1.3 million new cases diagnosed every year, resulting in 465,000 deaths.

Lauran Neergaard, “Teen Exercise Protects Against Breast Cancer Later in Life.” The Association Press, May 14, 2008.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]breast cancer,exercise,physical education[/tags]

Be on the Lookout for Students Who Play “The Choking Game”

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I have just read about a disturbing activity that may affect students in your school. It’s called the “choking game.” This game has killed at least 82 students in the USA and sent at least 72 Canadian kids to the hospital. In fact, a newly released survey has found that 79,000 students – just in the province of Ontario alone – play this dangerous game.

The survey, called the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health survey, was conducted in 2007 by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Involving Ontario students in grades seven to twelve, it found that seven per cent had played the choking game. There was no difference in participation level between girls and boys or among grade levels.

What is the choking game? Kids either choke themselves – or get someone to choke them – until they begin to pass out. This state of oxygen deprivation produces a temporary feeling of euphoria. The game has other names: the scarf game, space monkey, the pass-out game, blackout and five minutes to heaven.

However, it is easy to go too far with this game and a slight miscalculation can be deadly.

What signs may alert teachers to students who are playing the choking game? Bloodshot eyes, frequent headaches, marks on the neck, and the possession of strange items such as ropes, collars and dog leashes.

As Physical education teachers, you are in a position to prevent a tragedy. You can discuss this game and its dangers during health classes. And the T-shirts that students wear in class will expose marks on a student’s neck that is an indicator of game-play.

References:
1. The “Choking Game”, Psychological Distress and Bullying: Ontario teens continue to exhibit troubling behaviour. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, May 1, 2008.

2. “Almost 80,000 Students Play “choking game.” The Canadian Press, May 3, 2008.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

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[tags]choking game,physical education,coaching,health,school,students[/tags]

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]

If They Can Block-Schedule Physical Education, Why Not Lunch?

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Although physical educators have long realized the importance of Quality Daily Physical Education, the need for such programs is still not a priority for parents and policy makers. This is highlighted by the fact that many school boards still use block-scheduling for physical education classes. That is, they schedule a child’s PE classes in either the first or second semester instead of providing them throughout the school year.

Unfortunately, the administrators who make educational policy are often academics with no grounding in physical fitness—their decisions are based on efficiency rather than sound physiological principles.

This problem were amusingly illustrated as far back as 1990, in a book by Gordon Stewart called “Running Through My Mind.” In this book, he described the thoughts of Dr. Bill Ross of the Department of Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby British Columbia.

Here’s an excerpt from Mr. Stewart’s article, “Games Children Should Play.”

“In spite of the overwhelming evidence of its value, daily physical education is still more a dream than reality. Some schools move even farther from the ideal with a system known as block scheduling, where a subject is taught every day one semester and not at all the next.”

Ask Dr. Ross about block scheduling and he gets even more worked up than he does about childhood games.

“The biological nature of children and youth must be a mystery to educational planners who schedule physical education for students one semester and leave it out the next,” says Dr. Ross. “If they want to be efficient, they should do the same with lunch.

“A lunch period every day is really inefficient. Why not five lunches every Monday? A student could get all his eating finished on the first day of the week and not disrupt his schedule for the remaining four days.

“Ridiculous? No more so than scheduling physical education every day one semester and omitting it from the timetable the next semester. Exercise is a metabolic activity every bit as much as eating is. Daily physical activity is crucial for normal growth and development.”

So where does this leave us? If block-scheduling is here to stay, intramural sports and after-school sports activities are crucial. But a more logical step is to lobby against the crazy practice and to lobby for quality daily physical education.

Reference: Excerpt reprinted with permission of the publisher: Gordon W. Stewart, “Games children should play,” from Running Through My Mind, Victoria: 3S Fitness Group Ltd., 1990.
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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,fitness,children's health, PE scheduling>[/tags]

The Buddy Bench Improves Inclusiveness During Recess Periods

Recess can be an excellent opportunity for children to engage in fitness activities. However for some children, recess isn’t fun – it’s a cruel reminder that they aren’t part of the in-crowd. Excluded from group games and activities, they stand on the sidelines watching and wishing they were part of the fun.

That’s where the “buddy bench” comes in. First used in Germany, the buddy bench is a simple idea that will help to improve inclusiveness during your school’s recess periods.

The buddy bench is a designated bench that you place on your school grounds. If a student has no one to play with, they sit on the bench. If students see someone sitting on the buddy bench, they know they should ask them to play or join the activities they are engaged in.
To I think
The concept has proven to be extremely effective in schools across North America. The benches have been donated to schools by local businesses, parents, or interested charitable groups. They have also been built by the schools themselves as a group project. The benches can be painted and designed to be visible and can include all sorts of inclusive sayings and mottos.

It’s a great idea. Here’s a video about the buddy bench.

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,buddy bench,recess,inclusiveness>[/tags]

Skin Cancer Resources for Health Class Teachers

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Here’s are some excellent skin cancer prevention resources for your health classes.

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Skin Cancer Contest Poster

The Skin Cancer Foundation has established the free Sun Smart U. education program to assist instructors expose students to the importance of sun protection and give them the information they need to avoid skin

cancer. Sun Smart U. includes video accounts of young adults dealing with melanoma and providing suggestions for children. The program is designed to encourage behaviors in sunny conditions, such as using sun-protective clothing and sun screen lotion in a way that makes these measures easy to apply. The curriculum also stresses the significance of very early detection of skin cancer with information about the warning signs.

There are three instructional formats that teachers can use, including SMART or Promethean interactive whiteboard, or Microsoft PowerPoint. Using both classroom instruction and activities, these lessons are a fun and easy way to teach students lifelong sun safety habits. Also provided are the student-produced videos and posters that resulted from the “I Am Sun Smart” contest.

Check out the website here:
http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/education-program

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Dick Moss, Editor,
PE Update.com

To check out the PE Update.com website, click here
Physical Education Update

[tags]physical education,skin cancer prevention,health class lessons[/tags]