Wednesday, November 23, 2016

British children among the least active in the world, with exercise 'stripped out' of modern lives

This is a surprise?  In the name of "elf n safety" they have been FORBIDDEN most normal playground activity -- in case they fall over and hurt themselves. And some schools have sold off their playgrounds so there is little that kids CAN do outdoors

British children are among the least active in the world, and fitness levels are plummeting, a damning international study has found.

Experts said the results were alarming, showing that movement was being “stripped out” of modern lifestyles, with children weaned on screen-time and starved of outdoor activity.

Last night Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, called for radical changes in family routines, describing exercise as a “magic pill” which would be a “pharmaceutical blockbuster” if only it could be bottled

Research comparing 38 counties across the globe placed England, Scotland and Wales among the worst for physical activity.

Overall, England and Wales were both scored D minus, the third worst grade in the rankings, while Scotland was joint worst, with a grade of F.

The rankings, produced by a global alliance of health experts, show the UK lagging far behind a host of countries, including Poland, Slovenia, and Venezuela, when it comes to children’s fitness.

Government advice says children should do at least an hour of moderate intensity physical activity per day.

But just 15 per cent of girls aged 11 to 15 in England manage this, along with 22 per cent of boys, the report shows. And only one in three children of this age are taking part in any organised sport outside school, according to the figures, presented to the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health.

The report shows that the fitness of children in England has deteriorated badly since the first such global research was published two years ago, despite repeated pledges by the Government to tackle childhood obesity and couch potato lifestyles.

In 2014, England was given an overall grade of C-D, in the first Global Matrix of Grades examining fitness. Since then, of nine different measures used to rank activity levels and government strategies, four have worsened while the rest are unchanged, bringing its overall grade down to D minus.

Latest figures show childhood obesity has reached record levels, with one in 10 children obese when they start primary school, and one in five reaching that level by the end of it.

Mr Stevens urged families to make changes to daily routines, to protect the long-term health of their children.

The head of the NHS said exercise has been shown to cut three per cent of strokes, prevent 30 per cent of cases of dementia, 30 per cent of osteoporosis, radically reduce breast cancers and bowel cancers, prevent depression, reduce stress, and eliminate type 2 diabetes.

“If you could pack exercise into a magic pill, it would be a pharmaceutical blockbuster,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“Instead it requires action by schools, the NHS, parents and the food and drink industry. Get this right and we'll be sparing the next generation hundreds of thousands of cases of cancers, strokes and dementia, as well as type 2 diabetes."

Exercises to help improve core strengthPlay! 01:32
Researchers said the typical modern lifestyle of spending a day in front of a computer, followed by an evening slumped in front of the television was proving fatal.

They also called for radical changes in government policies, to encourage healthier habits.

Mr Stevens also urged parents to make radical changes to their children’s diets.

“The average five-year-old is estimated to be consuming their own bodyweight in sugar each year.

“So we are storing up all kinds of trouble for our children and their generation,” he said.

The study shows that while activity levels among teenage girls have remained unchanged, the percentage of boys doing an hour’s daily exercise has dropped from 28 per cent to 22 per cent in just two years.

Scotland has retained its place at the bottom of the league table, with lack of exercise and the amount of time children spend in front of TV and computer screens highlighted as a cause for concern. Wales, which was not included in the first study, receives equal ranking with England, with just 15 per cent of those aged between 11 and 15 managing an hour’s exercise daily.

Last week a study by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom found pre-school children are now spending an average of more than four hours a day looking at screens.

Among those aged five to 15 the figure rose again, to an average of five-and-a-half hours.

Fitness experts said sedentary lifestyles meant today’s children could see their lives cut short.

Dr Steven Mann, research director at not-for-profit health body, UK Active, said: “Today’s children are the least active ever and face a ticking time-bomb of health issues that puts them at serious risk of having shorter lives than their parents.

"Movement has been stripped out of modern living, meaning Generation Inactive are driven to school and fed a staple diet of sofa play and screen time, while being starved of outdoor activities.”

The organisation is calling for Ofsted to rate schools for the fitness of children.

"Until we measure physical literacy in the same way as maths and English, we'll be powerless to stop this alarming rot,” Dr Mann said.

The best performing countries were New Zealand, South Africa and Slovenia.

In Slovenia, around eight in 10 boys and seven in 10 girls aged between six to 18 took at least an hour’s moderate to vigorous activity every day. In New Zealand, two-thirds of children and young people managed this most days while in South Africa around half of children were estimated to be doing at least an hour’s such exercise daily.

The research by the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance, a network of researchers and health workers, was presented in Bangkok and spans 38 countries from six continents, representing 60 per cent of the world’s population.

Activity levels in Britain have dropped by more than a third in three decades, official data shows, with the average person now walking for less than 10 minutes a day. Meanwhile, calorie consumption has risen, fuelled by sales of sugary drinks.


With control of state legislatures, GOP can reshape education policy across the fruited plain

Educational reform for the last decade has relied on the simple notion that all Americans can learn the same way and meet the same federal standards. After nearly 15 years, the failure of this one-size-fits-all system has been obvious.

Now Republicans have control of the Congress and the White House, but more importantly, they have control over the local and state governments that are integral to education reform. The power needs to be brought back down to these local bodies for education to finally become a success.

Under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, the federal government released authority over all institutions not listed directly in the constitution to the state government, education was one of these unnamed state government responsibilities.

However, with the Bush era imposition of No Child Left Behind education became a federal task. President Obama reauthorized a revised version of the act with Common Core standards. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal attacked these federal guidelines in a lawsuit against the Obama administration in 2014 arguing, “Common Core is the latest effort by big government disciples to strip away state rights and put Washington, D.C. in control of everything. What started out as an innovative idea to create a set of base-line standards that could be ‘voluntarily’ used by the states has turned into a scheme by the federal government to nationalize curriculum.”

In a response to pushback like this against No Child Left Behind, the Obama administration and Senate Republicans amended these standards with the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015. This law did provide some greater state control over their curriculum while still maintaining other less desirable parts of federal authority.

As’s David Davenport of Feb. 2015 explains, under federalized education plans where states are bribed with necessary funds to accept federal policy, states constitutional right to plan their own educational system is directly infringed. Now with Republican control, state and local governments can change this power struggle.

As federal education models continue to fail, this year states have the first major ability to regain control over their educational process.

For the first time in history, Republicans control 68 out of 99 state legislatures. In 33 states Republicans have control over both chambers.  Republicans have control over state and local governments, and for Republicans these houses should be the main vehicles for change.

Even states such as New York, which has been under democratic control for decades, once again has a Republican Senate which can push for educational reform.

Through following the framers intentions and using state and local authority to revise education from the bottom up, educational reform that works in state specific cases can be achieved.

As Education Week’s Alyson Klein of Nov. 2016 explains, with a Republican dominated legislatures, key reforms which empower states, students, and children are expected to pass. For example, school choice initiatives favored by Republicans and President-elect Donald Trump, but opposed by President Obama during the drafting of ESSA would now be passable.

Initiatives that allow students to attend private schools, charter schools, and schools outside their district encourage local communities and students to take control over their education. Federal education policy has stifled this consistently, but now state and local Republicans can bring education back to their communities.

The constitutional framers intended for education to work on a local and state basis, these officials know their populations’ needs best. That is true federalism. However, as the federal government has hijacked this responsibility from states it has crippled our entire education model. Now with Republicans dominating the state political arena once again with control of 33 legislatures, power can be devolved to its original holders.


President of National Teachers’ Union Cites Holocaust in Comments on Trump

The president of one of the nation’s largest teachers’ union cited the Holocaust in comments she made about President-elect Donald Trump while speaking at an LGBT event in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

“After what happened in the 1930s and ’40s, we used to have a saying called ‘never again,’” Randi Weingarten, president of American Federation of Teachers, said in front of an audience, adding:

Never again have some kind of Holocaust, never again. Frankly … that has to mean not never again not just for Jews, but never again for Muslims, never again for our Latino friends and neighbors, never again for our other vulnerable populations, including what are still an LGBTQ population. So when we think about what we’re walking into … Donald Trump is masterful at disruption and division. Disruption and division create discrimination and when we don’t stay together as a collective, as a coalition, then we are open to that kind of discrimination.

Weingarten was elected president of the American Federation of Teachers in 2008.

The union represents 1.6 million members and advocates on behalf of teachers and other education professionals throughout the country.

Not every teacher is required to be a member of the union. However, in nearly two dozen states, unions can require workers to pay a majority of the union dues.

Weingarten endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on behalf of the American Federation of Teachers in July, and since then has been an outspoken supporter.

Looking back at the 2016 election results, Weingarten, who was speaking at The Atlantic’s “Unfinished Business” LGBT summit, said, “I think that the election results said several things to me.”  “It said that we have an obligation, a moral obligation, a righteous obligation, to actually fight for four things.”

Those four things include:

“We need to fight to ensure that there is the kind of economic opportunity for all regardless of wealth.”

“The fight for economic opportunity is not exclusive from the fight against bigotry and discrimination. And we have to have both those fights with equal vigor.”

“We’ve learned a lot about the importance of education in this last election and the fact that we need to have a generation that really understands and can critically think for itself.”

“Pluralism and how important pluralism is—diversity, inclusion, pluralism.”


No comments: