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

aching Through Physical Education," pointed to Wendy Huckstadt at Bottenfield School and Wendy Starwalt at Carey Busey, both in Champaign. Among the strategies they employ in the classroom are ones recommended in the roundtable report, such as using pedometers and other motivational devices; offering rewards and incentives; and setting individual and group goals.

"Wendy Huckstadt organized a program called the Mileage Club, where students can cover a quarter-mile track before and after school, at recess and sometimes during physical education to earn little plastic foot charms," Woods said. "Once they cover five miles, they earn a charm. The charms are put on necklaces. Teachers and students all wear them."

Woods said after school, parents come to pick up their children, and it's not unusual to see students, parents and teachers all walking around the track after school.

"It's really awesome," she said.

Starwalt has done many innovative things as well. "She also incorporates the foot charms in her program, and has introduced 'Fitness Fridays,' to try to emphasize the benefits of physical activity," Woods said.

Chodzko-Zajko noted that one of the major hurdles he and his colleagues face is getting society to abandon old notions of physical education in the schools.

"The challenge, I think, is that people have come to think that children should get their physical activity in P.E. class, and they're lucky if they have one class a week," he said. "So, we need to help the kids track their activity using pedometers. But they can't be expected to get that activity (only) during P.E. class."

In addition to encouraging the systemic inclusion of physical activity and wellness in the classroom, recommendations in the "We Move the Kids" report include strategies for educators, school administrators, and even parents and communities.

Among them:

  • positioning physical-education teachers
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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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