Voluntary program adds 30 minutes of physical activity to school day
The Georgia Departments of Education and Public Health have teamed up to create Power Up for 30, a voluntary program that encourages every elementary school in Georgia to include an additional 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
This physical activity is in addition to structured physical education classes -- not a replacement -- and can be led by any teacher.
“We are facing an epidemic among our Georgia students -- obesity. The data is clear and the message cannot be ignored: We must get our students moving more during the school day. Physical activity means higher test scores, increased attention in class and a healthier student population. To make this possible, we need your help,” State School Superintendent John Barge, Ph.D., and DPH Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., said in a letter to superintendents.
Nearly a million students participated in the Georgia S.H.A.P.E. (Student Health and Physical Education) FITNESSGRAM last year, an assessment of a student’s fitness level determined by basic exercises like walking, running, stretching and calculation of body mass index (BMI). The results were startling: Only 16 percent of Georgia students passed all health-related FITNESSGRAM assessments. Twenty percent of the students were unable to passanyof the five assessments.
Many superintendents already are working hard to incorporate more activity into each school day. Through Power Up For 30, the departments will share best practices from schools across the state and highlight success stories.
At Jackson Road Elementary in Spalding County, students participate in “Mind in Motion” every morning during announcements, where students get moving at a moderate to vigorous pace. Fifth-grade students at Yargo Elementary School in Barrow County participate in a fitness club before classes each morning, which has resulted in students being able to jog an average of 10 laps more per day than when the club first began.
Some schools are using heart rate measurements and physical activity to demonstrate math and science concepts during classes. Others have running clubs where students jog several mornings per week before school.
To learn more about Power Up for 30, contact Therese McGuire, DOE health and physical education specialist, at 404-651-7859 or [email protected]. Or contact Dan Fesperman, manager DPH Obesity Project, at 404-657-6587 or [email protected]. To hear more success stories, subscribe to the Power Up for 30 email newsletter by sending a blank email to [email protected].