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Our Children and the Quality of Their Physical Education

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Our Children and the Quality of Their Physical Education

Many schools today are undergoing many changes, changes due to funding cuts or demands to improve academic scores; therefore affecting other school programs; one of those programs being, physical education. The quality of the physical education programs has diminished affecting the role that it [physical education] has on children of today. This paper will address two factors, childhood obesity and budget constraints, that impact physical education and analyze the how these factors are affecting teachers, parents, students, and administrators. This paper will also provide an example of an action plan, demonstrating how motor skills can be learned and built upon using physical education. Children need physical education because without it motor skills will be lost and obesity will continue to rise. The effects of a poor quality of physical education program will be seen throughout generations to come; causing motor skills to be lost and a continuous rise in childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic in today's society, affecting "16-33% of 6-12 year old children" (Pangrazi & Beighle, 2013, pg.135). To provide a quality physical education program many groups of people are involved and one of those groups is the administrators. The administrators are the top level people who make decisions regarding curriculum and if they are unaware of the number of children who are obese or overweight within their schools, their decisions could be detrimental to these children; causing more problems and making it harder to get the help and the education they need from the schools and the teachers.

Childhood obesity is an issue that makes performing or participating in physical activities very difficult; therefore making it difficult on teachers. Teachers are an important group of people who are working hard to give every child a good quality physical education program; which can be greatly affected by obesity. One area in the physical education program that can be affected is the curriculum. Overweight or obese children who take part in physical education classes may require modifications to be made to the activities or the exercises within the program. These modifications can be allowing them to walk instead of running, allowing more time to perform activities, and giving them rest periods so that they can recover from the activities.

In some schools they provide one-on-one instructional time for obese children, causing more strain to be put upon the teachers who may already be feeling the stress of overworking. These one-on-one sessions provide obese children the opportunity to learn about positive health habits and how to implement them in their everyday lives. These sessions occur during the teachers breaks or during any free time that they may have during their day; leaving little time for them to relax or prepare for their other classes throughout the day (Pangrazi & Beighle, 2013).

Another area, concerning teachers, that is affected by childhood obesity is finding activities that not only they can do but ones that they also enjoy. The teachers observe these students and try to determine what their likes and dislikes are in games and activities. If teachers can determine what their likes are they can use these likes to implement into activities and get the students excited and interested in physical activities; if they are not interested then it is unlikely that they will want to participate

Along with determining their interests, the teachers must also determine what skills that the children can and cannot do. For example, if a child cannot run then maybe the child can jog and if the child cannot perform big jumps then the student can work on little jumps; working their way up to big jumping and learning the correct technique to perform them. After assessing the students' strengths and weaknesses the teacher must develop a fitness plan to help the students achieve the goals that are set by themselves, the teachers, administrators, and parents. Parents should be notified and involved in this process, because then they can implement and address the issues and goals at home as well.

Parents are another important group of people, because they can also provide physical education at home; also being affected by childhood obesity. And for parents who have obese children, the ability or desire to implement physical education can be difficult or non-existent. The relationships between parents and obese children can be very strained, making it very difficult to discuss ideas and implement those ideas to make better health decisions at home and at school. Parents of obese children may also be obese themselves; which can also be the cause of their child's weight issues. Parents who are obese do not have healthy habits of their own, so teaching their children healthy habits will be difficult and less effective.

Parents of obese children may find themselves being ridiculed and looked down upon; which may cause them to implement outrageous physical activities upon their children. These outrageous physical activities may be too demanding for the children and they will not be able to keep up and perform to the levels that their parents want; causing their parents to scream at and demand more, making the children feel depressed, angry, and unable to please their parents.

The students, with these physical education programs, are the ones who are affected the most by childhood obesity. Overweight or obese children may have low self-esteem making it difficult for them to participate in physical activities, because of their lack of self-confidence and their self-image issues. These issues can also cause problems in their relationships with teachers and fellow classmates; making their want to participate even less, because they may have a fear of being made fun of or being graded to harshly.

Another way that students with obesity are affected is through their ability to complete or perform certain activities or exercises. Some activities may be too difficult for these children and may cause them hurt themselves; whether by overdoing it or not performing the correct techniques, because they are overweight. For example, overweight children may find it difficult to play soccer because of their inability to keep up with others and the fact that their motor skills are not as refined as their classmates. Soccer requires the use of many skills and is one of the most active sports for young children; one that requires strength and endurance and for overweight children they may find it to be too much (Pangrazi & Beighle, 2013).

Not only are the obese and overweight students affected, but their classmates, who are not, are also affected. The



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