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Samuel
Sun, Sep-04-05, 21:00
http://www.todaysdietandnutrition.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=55

Comparing Fitness Facts: United States vs. Europe

By Jennifer Sisk

Although an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and fast food have spread beyond just the United States to other Westernized countries, rates of obesity, overweight, and physical inactivity have not yet risen accordingly in some countries. European researchers have conducted large population-based lifestyle surveys that indicate that while some European countries do have lower overall rates of exercise, other countries, such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, and Finland, have higher overall rates of exercise.

More than 30% of adults in the United States are overweight, compared with a low 11% in Finland and 10% in Denmark. In Finland, roughly 66% of adults reported engaging in moderate to vigorous leisure-time physical activity for at least three hours per week. In contrast, recent health surveys in the United States indicated that approximately 60% of adults never participated in any type of vigorous leisure-time physical activity.

In Denmark, while children and adolescents spend approximately 90 minutes per day on television and electronic games, participation in sports activities is still increasing, with 80% or more of boys and girls participating. In the United States, clinical studies reported that most American children watch television and/or play computer/video games for more than four hours per day.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, less than 39% of children participate in organized physical activity. Why is there such a substantial difference? A national governmental act in Denmark declared that use of all facilities are free of charge to organized sports clubs. And ask any soccer mom or football dad in the United States just how much participation in organized sports costs.

In Finland, physical education has been compulsory in schools for more than a century. Physical education is almost nonexistent in American public schools.

Environmental and lifestyle differences in Finland and other European countries contribute to the higher rate of physical activity. Bicycling and walking as transportation are still common in many European countries, and a large network of trails and bicycle lanes can be found in many cities.

In general, Europeans work less and have more vacation time than stressed-out corporate Americans. European governmental bodies are more involved in promoting physical activity incentives. For Americans, while the individual is ultimately personally responsible for his or her own weight loss or gain, overall societal health measures, like the rising rates of obesity and inactivity, are the responsibility of our public officials.

Id like to see a return to mandatory, but fun, physical education for children and more financial assistance or incentives for community physical fitness programs.

Jennifer Sisk is a certified wellness educator/consultant with the American College of Wellness and a certified fitness instructor with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. She can be reached at jennifersisk~usa.net (jennifersisk~usa.net).

southbel
Sun, Sep-04-05, 22:48
There has been extensive research that children who participate in sports are generally more successful as they enter those crucial adolescent years. For example, girls that play sports have a lower incidence of teenage pregnancy. These are additional benefits aside from the obvious benefit of helping to combat obesity.

I was very lucky to have gone to boarding school for a high school. I loved one of the things they did there. They did not have Physical Education classes but instead required all students to play a sport. They generally had three levels of the sport...intramural, junior varsity, and varsity. Anyone could play intramural level. This allowed students to try different sports and not have to worry about being "good enough". We played a different sport each season, amounting to three sports a year.

I thought this was an outstanding program. First, you learned to work on a team, which is increasingly important to be successful in today's society. Second, it allowed me to experiment and try new sports. Third, it kept me physically fit, much better than any PE class would have. When you have a team behind you and counting on your full participation, you really try and work hard. I think that if you had a grade on the line, as in the case of PE class, you would see more people doing the bare minimum to get by and that would, in most cases, not be enough to get physically fit.

I understand our public educational system simply does not have enough money to install a program like I had at my school. There are some schools that hardly have enough money for books. However, if our government really did care about education like you hear politician after politician say, then you would see money thrown at these schools. If they did this, a system like I had the priviledge to experience could be a possibility. However, there is an epidemic of giving lip service to combating childhood obesity in this country but very little action (from the governmental level).

watcher16
Sun, Sep-04-05, 23:06
Environmental and lifestyle differences in Finland and other European countries contribute to the higher rate of physical activity. Bicycling and walking as transportation are still common in many European countries, and a large network of trails and bicycle lanes can be found in many cities.

In general, Europeans work less and have more vacation time than stressed-out corporate Americans. European governmental bodies are more involved in promoting physical activity incentives. ...
Id like to see a return to mandatory, but fun, physical education for children and more financial assistance or incentives for community physical fitness programs.

Jennifer Sisk is a certified wellness educator/consultant with the American College of Wellness and a certified fitness instructor with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. She can be reached at jennifersisk~usa.net.
She is very right in her observation and perceived needs for the children. But also the adults should be pressed to take part in exercise. Here in the Netherlands adults are advised to take at least half an hour of exercise each day, which can be as simple as taking a walk at lunch break.

The government is now urging schools to give the opportunity (I don't know if it is going to be mandatory) to have exercise each day.

kebaldwin
Mon, Sep-05-05, 04:32
IMHO it comes down to one thing that I'll repeat one more time. The reason kids are fat is because all of their "medical and health experts" at school are teaching them that this is a health diet:

http://forum.lowcarber.org/gallery/showimage.php?i=15174&catid=member&imageuser=20510

Telling kids to exercise more when they are eating a diet like this, five times a day, is like beating a dead horse telling it to go faster.

If you cut the insulin first - then kids will have the energy to exercise. Otherwise it is too stressful.

Ayln
Mon, Sep-05-05, 09:25
I remember my elementary school years. We had junk food as the provided school lunch every day, and it was only when I was in fourth grade when they added in an optional salad bar. Was I obese? Yeah.

Also, it wasn't that I couldn't or didn't participate in sports, it was that I was physically unable to. I was so fat that it was a chore rather than something fun to do. Once I also collapsed just from running a mile (and I wasn't even running for most of it). Thus, diet is the most important thing to focus on before blaming lack of exercise. My diet was crap, therefore my body was crap as well.

Dodger
Mon, Sep-05-05, 09:28
Like Southbel, I went oto a high school that had a good intramural program. Everyone took part and most enjoyed it. There was not pressure to win so having fun was encourged. You could wear what you wanted.

My kids had formal PE classes and hated it. They got little exercise, just a lot in 'instruction' in how to properly play certain sports and lots of rules to learn and follow. Special gym clothes were required.

watcher16
Sun, Sep-11-05, 02:29
Maybe the Matrix is existing, and it's a giant industrial food-complex, deriving labor from slaves, who are fed with junk-food and junk-televison :D / :mad: