Children’s Physical Fitness

The article entitled “The Medical College of Georgia FitKid Project: The Relations Between Program Attendance and Changes in Outcomes in Year 1” is a descriptive research paper with the main objective of investigating the relations between the attendance of children in an after school physical activity (PA) program intervention to changes in body composition and cardiovascular fitness (CVF). The goal of the researchers here is to obtain answers that will give help address the growing global health problem on childhood overweight and obesity. (Yin, 2005) This is due to the fact that there have been little evidence-based studies in children that will show a direct dose-response relationship between physical activity and cardiovascular risk factors unlike in adults. (Yin, 2005)

The subjects are 278 third-grade boys and girls from nine elementary schools with average age of 8.7, body mass index (BMI) of 19.1. Kg/m2 and percent body fat of 26.0. The after school program offered to the participating nine intervention schools is 5 days/week of 120-minute daily session during the regular school days free of charge for approximately 8 months. (Yin, 2005) The following parameters are assessed from the subjects namely: body composition (by dual energy absorptiometry) e.g., % body fat, fat mass (FM), fat-free mass (FFM) and bone mineral density (BMD), BMI (from height and weight), waist circumference and cardiovascular fitness (by HR/min from the YMCA submaximal bench-stepping test. (Yin, 2005) Results are analyzed using the mixed model analysis of variance (ANOVA) which revealed that there is greater beneficial effects in those children who have more frequent participation in PA particularly those with 60% attendance or higher (equivalent to 3 days or more of participation) in a MVPA (moderate vigorous physical activity) than those who has a low attendance. (Yin, 2005) However, no changes has been found with either the waist circumference (WC) and body mass index (BMI) which means that the PA attendance does not influence the WC and the BMI of the subjects. Nevertheless, the results of the study is still considered relevant and may spearhead further research in the future that will focus on the limitations of this study. First, the relationship obtained must be observed on a longer period of time approximately 3 years. Secondly, it is recommended that instead of the attendance being used as an indicator of dose in this study, the dose-response effect of PA on overweight and obesity itself is more specific in terms of preventing morbidities related to these weight problems. The conclusion showed that physical fitness in young children will give them greater health benefits and promote general well-being.

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To work on this aspect of fitness among children in the Kindergarten-6th grade, as a teacher I will recommend the inclusion in the curriculum a subject on physical education consisting of lecture hours and also with required actual number of hours of after school physical activity program. The physical activity program should be conducted in a regular daily schedule running through the entire course of the student. The purpose of the lecture is to orient the students why physical fitness is important in relation to decreasing overweight and obesity-related illnesses. I can also incorporate in the science subjects the topics on how obesity can increase the risk of osteoarthritis, cardiovascular diseases e.g. hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, angina pectoris in the simplest manner that a Kindergarten-6th grade can easily comprehend. I can present the lectures through videos, PowerPoint visual aids composing more of drawings and pictures rather than texts.  In this way, the aspect of physical fitness can be emphasized more and students become more aware and are responsible for their maintenance of health at an early age.