New Data on Childhood Obesity Prevalence Trends

An article published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that prevalence of obesity in American youth aged 2 to 19 is over 22%. There has been a general increase in childhood obesity over the past 30 years, with differing levels of change based upon age group. Current levels suggest that continued interventions are needed to address weight among children. Furthermore, programs that target prevention of unhealthy weight gain and promotion of health and physical activity are critical.

Link to JAMA article.

An Old Article, Newly Discovered

An article by the Association for Childhood Education International entitled “Childhood Obesity and Testing: What Teachers Can Do” was shared on the site in 2009. This piece, now 7 years old, offers a relatively concise overview of the relationship between obesity and academic performance for an educator who is seeking information. Citations throughout the article provide support for the five strategies proposed to address the issue at school. Although it doesn’t fit into the other sections of this website as it is not technically research, or news, or a resource, it is worthy of its own blog post…happy reading!

View the article here.

Promising University of Michigan Research on Classroom Physical Activity

Dr. Rebecca Hasson of University of Michigan is conducting a study called Active Classroom where she simulates a classroom environment but offers students various short-duration light, moderate, and vigorous intensity activities incorporated into sedentary periods.  Dr. Hasson hopes to provide information on the health and cognitive benefits of engaging students in quick activity breaks throughout the school day.  An exciting feature of this project is the collaboration with the architecture department in the design of active classrooms.  View a short video and read more about this exciting study here.

New Research – Negative Impact of Too Much Sitting

New research by McManus and colleagues (2015) provides support for engaging students in classroom physical activity throughout the school day.  Sedentary periods of over three hours is correlated with reduced vascular function, which may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.  For more information, see the abstract in the Research section.

Positive Information about School Lunches

As teachers, we must consider a “whole child” view of health and be aware of the implications of both physical activity and nutrition on our students.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a report sharing positive news about the availability of healthy options in our school cafeterias.  The report, “School-Level Practices to Increase Availability of Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains, and Reduce Sodium in School Meals”, notes that there has been an increase in the number of schools offering two or more fruits and two or more vegetables per day since 2000.  Let’s continue this positive trend!

Read the report here.

More Fit = Better Brains!

New research published this week demonstrates that children who are more fit have better math performance that lower fit peers.  The study by Chaddock-Heyman et. al. adds to the growing body of evidence that fitness and academic achievement are linked, and can be used as support for the inclusion of classroom physical activity.

See the Research tab for the more information!

New Research!

Norris et al. (2015) recently conducted a systematic review of classroom physical activity.  Findings indicate that classroom physical activity increases student physical activity levels and significantly improves or does not hinder educational outcomes with all results either positive or neutral.  This review calls for further research to gain a more complete understanding of the impact of classroom physical activity impact.

Naylor et al. (2015) systematically reviewed implementation of school-based physical activity interventions.  While studies varied in their assessment of implementation strategies and outcomes, the most influential factor to implementation success was time.

Burrows et al. (2014) determined that scheduled physical activity is associated with better academic performance.  In this sample, about 80% of students exercised for less than two hours per week.  Students who reported more than four hours per week of exercise were significantly more likely to perform about the 50th percentile in standardized academic achievement tests.

Katz, Mulder, and Pronk (2014) used worksite wellness Sit-Stand results as a method of improving student behavior and learning.

Chaput, Carson, Gray, and Tremblay (2014) proposed the importance of all movement behaviors in a 24 hour period for overall health of children.

See our Research Page for full abstracts.