Hats off the the NFL Network for expanding the reach of the Keep Gym in School program as it kicks off its second year. This year the program will more than double the number of schools involved in the program to 150. Keep Gym in School is NFL Network’s comprehensive national program to boost fitness and Physical Education in America’s middle schools.
Last week I blogged about the need for middle schools to mandate Physical Education for the entire year. It is good to see a very visible organization like NFL Network continue to push this important national agenda.
The direct connection between childhood obesity and the downstream impact on the nation’s healthcare bill is evident. That fact that lawmakers continue to wrestle how to write, implement and pay for a $ trillion national healthcare plan without addressing a source issue like child obesity is mind boggling.
As mind boggling as this lack of focus is, the statistics are even more mind numbing. As noted on the Keep Gym in School Fact Sheet:
- The percentage of obese and overweight children is at or above 30% in 30 U.S. states
- Fewer than 8% of U.S. middle schools provide daily physical education for the entire school year.
- Current annual medical costs related to obesity total $147 billion nationally – nearly 10% of all medical costs and almost twice the CDC’s estimate in 1998.
- Recent studies suggest unfit and overweight children also suffer academically.
In only its second year, the Keep Gym in School program has substantial room to grow. So far, only four NFL teams are local partners in this program. If your team isn’t involved ask them to support this important cause.