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Walking forum report shows need to expand physical activity in schools
Date:9/30/2008

With childhood obesity expanding to epidemic proportions in the United States, educators, researchers and health practitioners are actively seeking to identify effective means of addressing this public-health crisis.

Among the solutions proposed by teachers, researchers and others who met during a roundtable discussion of the issues at a major international conference at the University of Illinois, is the integration of physical activity programming throughout the curriculum in the nation's schools. In other words, the group recommended that physical activity no longer be confined to the domain of the physical education classes.

"There are a number of steps that can be taken to accomplish this," said U. of I. kinesiology and community health professor Weimo (pronounced WE-moh) Zhu, the lead organizer of the "Walking for Health" conference. For example, "science teachers can teach the science behind physical activity theories about energy transfer. Or teachers can combine graphics and arts, going on a walk to look at different parts of the city."

A summary of the group's findings and recommendations was compiled in a recently published consensus report titled "We Move the Kids." The report along with 10 others by conference participants was published this past summer in a supplemental volume of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (Vol. 40, No. 7), the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. The ACSM was a co-sponsor of the 2005 walking conference with the U. of I.

Zhu called the supplement "the most comprehensive collection of the current literature on walking."

The "We Move the Kids" roundtable discussion and follow-up report focused on strategies for promoting physical activity, integrating physical activity with other health behaviors in school curricula, and potential barriers to accomplishing these goals.

"There was a general recommendation to go beyond what happens in the P.E.
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Contact: Melissa Mitchell
melissa@illinois.edu
217-333-5491
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

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