Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
Friday, August 17, 2018 7:09 am
May 18, 2008

More P.E., less TV

by Greg Kohn, Online Sports Editor
Bryan Moore was only twelve years old when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, caused by obesity and lack of exercise. Now a ninth grader, Moore has his name on a bill that aims to increase physical education requirements in school - including doubling high school requirements to two years.

As expected, the Maryland Senate shot down the bill this past spring for the fourth time, substituting for the first time a task force to investigate how feasible the bill's implementation would be. It's likely that the fate of this investigation will mirror the reasons the bill was amended in the first place: too much money, not enough time.

Yet the issue here is too important for lawmakers to use the excuse "we tried." They need to find a compromise that encourages schools to promote exercise and discourages a sedentary lifestyle for teenagers.

Action needs to be taken quickly, too, as the problem is not going away: obesity is rising at an alarming rate across all ages. The rate of teenage obesity is 17.6 percent, tripled since 1976, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And according to Trust for America's Health, no state in America decreased in adult obesity rates from 2006 to 2007.

Another tangible indicator of obesity is Type 2 diabetes, the same obesity-induced disease Moore developed. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), one in three kids born after 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes causes hundreds of thousands of deaths per year, and the disease is also a huge economic burden on health care or individuals - the total cost of diabetes in 2007 is estimated at $174 billion.

Physical education's link to turning this trend around has also been justified in research. A study conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health revealed that participation in physical education five days a week decreases the chance that that child will become overweight as adult by 28 percent, with each individual weekday contributing five percent.
Would you be for or against added P.E. requiements?
  • For
  • Against
  • Don't care
Discuss this Poll

Despite the obvious benefits of the bill, two frightening acronyms – NCLB (No Child Left Behind) and AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) - make administrators uneasy and are causing doubts within the state, according to Cynthia Changuris, Blair's Physical Education Resource Teacher. Replacing a yearlong course with P.E. could make standards set by NCLB and AYP harder to meet, Changuris said. She also cited money as a roadblock, as the new requirements would call for more teachers.

A simple remedy for the situation is an exclusion rule. If this bill is targeted at students who are not exercising enough, then students who can prove that they are indeed exercising should be exempt from the second year of P.E. This compromise would tend to the students in need while keeping the number of additional classes and accompanying costs to a minimum.

Verification of student exercise then becomes an issue. However, this could be handled with a few bureaucratic rules. First, school sports are easily verified and should be encouraged. A single season could count for half a credit, the equivalent of a semester. In addition, school seasons that coincided with P.E. semesters would not count toward graduation.

Other school related exercise – after school intramural programs (such as the Blair Sports Academy), dance clubs, out-of-season training and more – would also be easily approved as suitable. For non-school exercise, a procedure similar to the one that verifies Student Service Learning (SSL) organizations could be used. This would promote organized exercise and simultaneously protect against deception.

For now, the debate is stalled until Nov. 1 of this year, when the Senate committee report is scheduled to be finished. "It's an uphill battle, but one worth fighting," Changuris said. At least that sounds like exercise.

For more information on Bryan Moore and his bill visit The Bryan Moore Student Health and Fitness Act of Maryland video.

Share on Tumblr

Discuss this Article

Silver Chips Online invites you to share your thoughts about this article. Please use this forum to further discussion of the story topic and refrain from personal attacks and offensive language. SCO reserves the right to deny any comment. No comments that include hyperlinks will be posted. If you have a question for us, please include your email address or use this form.

  • Dantes on May 19, 2008 at 12:13 PM
    We act as though obese children are a bad thing. As if diabetes are a bad thing. As if disease is a bad thing. Why does no one realize the importance of disease? Imagine the overpopulation if we eliminated disease in the world. Imagine the overcrowding in our cities if disease did not level a portion of the population. Why attempt to control natural disasters? They are necessary to keep regions in check. A human has as much value to nature as a clam. Modern medicine seeks to circumvent nature by letting those made sterile by nature reproduce. What madness? What selfishness! Humans are the most destructive creatures ever created. We seek to propagate ourselves for nothing more than self-appeasement. We destroy the lives of animals by the thousands everyday. And yet, when a shark kills one man, we treat it as some sort of monstrosity; we hunt it and kill it. Hurrah for the shark! Mercy for him, I say. He has done a service. There are far too many people on this earth. Praise the tobacco industry! How many millions do cigarettes level a year! Heart disease and cancer, how many millions? And poverty and hunger, how many millions? But how many millions are there in 6.6 billion? A growing 6.6 billion? It is unfortunate indeed when it is upon our own families. But, so what? Nature runs it course. All living is slow, gradual suicide. The world exists in the worst of all possible conditions. It hangs by a thread at every moment. Every breath we take wards off death until the next. Life is miserable; “happiness” and “fun” are merely distractions from this misery. Remove these distractions, and you find the worlds to be a horrid and insane place. And you expect me to care, even remotely, about childhood obesity? Ludicrous indeed.
  • PE doesnt do anything on May 19, 2008 at 12:43 PM
    In PE class, so many kids just sit around doing nothing. There's no way that a teacher can make them exercise harder either. What are they gonna do, flunk a kid for not running fast enough? This bill won't do anything. The rising obesity problem isn't the school's fault, it's 100 percent the fault of parents.
  • asdff on May 20, 2008 at 9:23 AM
    Bravo, Dantes. Bravo for your excellent trolling.
  • Dantes on May 20, 2008 at 12:04 PM
    What would you have me do? These articles are beyond dull. Here is a bit of spice to make you remember the meal.
  • alumnae3 (View Email) on May 21, 2008 at 1:26 AM
    If u feel that way, then by all mean pls run into the middle of Colesville Rd or Univ Blvd.

    Dantes:: 05/19/2008
    We act as though obese children are a bad thing. As if diabetes are a bad thing. As if disease is a bad thing. Why does no one realize the importance of disease? Imagine the overpopulation if we eliminated disease in the world. Imagine the overcrowding in our cities if disease did not level a portion of the population. Why attempt to control natural disasters? They are necessary to keep regions in check. A human has as much value to nature as a clam.
  • Dantes on May 21, 2008 at 1:49 PM
    A clever remark my friend. I won't berate your spelling, the contrast created by my writing and your own serves the purpose well enough.

    Why do I not kill myself? Because there is no reason to. Suicide is not an escape or a freedom. My life, like all others, has virtually no value outside what it is given by another mind. So why indeed, do we not all commit suicide? I believe the reason is obvious; we want to live. Death is frightening to some. I do not fear death in the least. But not living terrifies me. Death is pain, suffering, agony, yet it ends, it subsides. Non-existence is forever, and the mind rebells at the idea of its own demise. Suicide is not escape from life, it is ultimate conformity to the will. It is absolute yielding to the will. Why, I ask you, would I throw myself into traffic? Because I believe my life has no value? No, that would be foolish. Life does not need a reason; that would be an abstraction. If we consider the principle of causality, then the only reason life needs to exist is its cause. If you are no satisfied with this reason, I advise you to seek your own. Know this however, no matter how brilliant your idea may seem, it is merely and abstraction of your thoughts, and therefore it has no real value in the world of phenomena or the world as it exists.

    I will not throw myself into traffic. You are welcome, however, to try to throw me yourself.
  • dude on May 21, 2008 at 2:09 PM
    i agree with dantes and you all should. this is why i am against giving aid to 3rd world countries. why give aid to their children if their just going to grow up in a miserable life. we let them grow up but for what? to starve? the world is already overpopulated and we need disease to help balance it out.
  • Tessa (View Email) on May 21, 2008 at 6:57 PM
    Increasing P.E. requirements is stupid on so many levels. For one thing, students wouldn't have the opportunity to take so many other electives and broaden their interests. P.E. is not a useless course, and I'm sure some students would like to take it for several years. However, I for one would like to have the opportunity to broaden my interests and learn other things, and I'm sure many others (student athletes or not) feel the same. Why should some people give up their school time to do something they could do at home, or as an after school activity. Physical wellbeing is each individual's responsibility. Even if a student's parents have unhealthy habits, the student can still play sports or do situps on their own time. I doubt that most parents would forbid them from doing this. Some people would say "well, what if they're unhealthy because they don't like sports?" Newsflash: if they don't like sports, do you think you're doing them a favor by forcing them to play sports for a grade? They won't appreciate it any more than I will. Finally, Ms. Changuris has a point when she says that money will be a roadblock. We already have budget issues. Why should we fund teachers who force students to take another year of gym classes (when many don't want to) when our own magnet program is suffering severe damage due to recent budget cuts? Adding another required P.E. credit is a waste of time and resources.
  • re: dude on May 30, 2008 at 8:31 PM
    you just made the most hypocritical statement I have ever heard. You want to give aid to people in third world countries so that they don't starve or leave horrible miserable lives that leave them more prone to disease. At the same time you are agreeing with someone who believes that disease and death are wonderful things because they help stop the enormous problems that will erupt from having a world that is too overpopulated by humans. It is third world countries that are hurting the rest of the world the most with their gigantic growth rates. So if you were to agree with dantes you would be agreeing that we shouldn't aid third world countries. let people living in those countries get sick and die so our growth rate can finally slow down. Actually why not just nuke em that will cure the problem. It will raise others but the world won't be overpopulated.

    dantes you asked to imagine what sould happen if we were to cure all diseases. For a while the human population would continue to grow, but then starvation would come in. With starvation would come war. Very few diseases can decimate a population as quickly as war. And by the end off that war were no longer overpopulated, but at the same time we have the enjoyment of never having to worry about what may or may not get us sick.

    Instead of worrying about what lack of disease will do to our population we should worry about increasing awareness about the problem of overpopulation while still improving the quality of life of every human on the planet. This might mean that every person who goes through the montgomery county public school system should be required to take one extra year of PE. It isn't that difficult I have 3.5 credits and somehow I was still able to pass all my HSA's
Jump to first comment