The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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December 10, 2012

Inactivity isn't just lack of exercise

(Continued)

Dr. James Hill, the founding Executive Director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, said the way people currently live doesn’t allow them to naturally get in the required amount of physical activity for good health.

This differs from early generations, where in many cases people had to walk to work or worked in jobs that required a great deal of physical activity, but now technology allows people to move very little if they choose, which has contributed to the United States' serious obesity problem.

Another panelist was Coy Wire, who played nine years in the NFL for both the Buffalo Bills and the Atlanta Falcons. He pointed to a Stanford University study that said much of America’s day is spent looking at a glowing rectangle.

“If we don’t do something about this phenomenon that’s happening, we're soon going to have a generation of kids that have these gigantic thumbs. So we need to get these kids moving.”

Worst time of the day

Dr. Lisa Witherspoon, an assistant professor at the University of Florida’s School of Physical Education and Exercise Science, says in order to bring up a generation of children for whom physical activity is a normal part of life, schools have to first completely change the way physical education is being taught.

“Physical Education isn’t recess. It’s not game time. It’s time to develop the essential and necessary skills that kids have to learn in order to feel comfortable moving their bodies,” Witherspoon said.

“In terms of physical education, I agree some of you had terrible physical education experiences. I have many friends that think about physical education and they say ‘it was the worst time of the day'. ”

She also said in order to get children to like physical education more,  school districts are starting to remove the competitive aspects of gym class and doing away with games like dodge-ball, since such games only allow the athletic kids in class to get the most out of the activity.

Witherspoon said that gym class isn’t enough to ingrain an active lifestyle for children, and pointed to a recent study that suggests 65 percent of children are completely inactive when they’re at home, which happens to be the majority of the time.

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.

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