This just in: Physical education can be hazardous to your child’s health.
I kid you not. It was in the news today. A study appearing in the September edition of Pediatrics indicates injuries to American children during physical education classes increased by 150 percent from 1997-2007.
Every week it seems the “new studies” indicate kids today are too fat and too sedentary – and we worry. But, we don’t just worry – we take action! We restrict the number of sugary cereal ads that can be run on Saturday morning TV. (Yeah, that oughtta knock some fat off the kids’ behinds…)
In fact, we have demonized breakfast cereal to the point that “sugar” is now a four-letter word. Seriously, when I was growing up, we had Post SUGAR CRISP. Now, they are “Golden Crisp.” Tony Tiger’s SUGAR FROSTED FLAKES? I don’t think so – they’re just FROSTED now. Apparently, the “S-word” itself is unhealthy.
But, I digress.
So, last week, we were all upset because kids are too fat.
This week, the crisis is they’re bonkin’ around too much in gym class – breaking limbs, skinning their knees, and getting strains, sprains, and heat strokes.
At the risk of sounding like an old fogy (though, if the bell bottoms fit…)… I am forced to hark back to President John F. Kennedy and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. Because of President Kennedy, my fellow baby boomers and I were forced to do sit-ups, push ups, chin-ups, and any other kind of “up” you can think of. We were made to do this primate thing called “arm holds,” like a chin-up, only you just hang there until your arms are shaking so hard you either drop to the ground in a heap of perspiration or just have a stroke. We also had to regularly run the whatever-yard dash, and we were GRADED on these things.
Now that I think about it, even our playground was physically challenging – returning to the primate theme, we had steel structures aptly named “monkey bars” and “jungle gyms.” You want to talk about injuries –plenty of blood and bone chips were sacrificed at those altars of recess. But, who cared? The school nurse had plenty of mercurochrome and Band-Aids, and nobody’s parents ever sued the school. If anything, the child would be chastised by his own parents (and definitely his siblings) for being a klutz and a spaz.
In retrospect, I believe it is entire likely the school playgrounds of the 1960s were actually part of a Population Control plan – a “natural selection” blueprint to weed some of us boomers off the planet.
Clearly, I have little sympathy for this new worry of the week. When kids are not active, they get fat. When they are active, we worry that they are getting hurt.
What do we want fat kids with no “boo boos” or fit kids who get hurt, and learn to be more careful next time?