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What Ever Happened to Gym Class? Budget Cuts and the Rise of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity rates are on the rise as hours spent in physical education are on the decline. What’s wrong with this picture?

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Extra-curricular activities are also encouraged.  Gil implemented the Mighty Milers running club with her students, which is sponsored by the New York Road Runners.  The program has students log the miles they walk or run each day with the goal of completing the equivalent of a marathon by the end of the school year.  These opportunities, however, exist mostly outside of gym class and outside of school funding, instead relying on volunteers and non-profit funding to survive.  For low-income families the personal resources required for many extra-curricular alternatives are not always accessible.

“When you are feeling physically fit and healthy, I think that everything kind of goes better for you,” said Fuentes.  “It would be really nice if this was a given for all schools, that it was not something we had to fight for.”

Rebecca Moss is a freelance journalist living in New York City and a recent graduate of Columbia Journalism School.