MEDICAL: CONDITIONS: OBESITY : PHYSICAL EXERCISE AND FITNESS: PROGRAMS: EFFECTIVENESS : GOVERNMENT FUNDED PROGRAMS : UNITED: STATES: STATES: TEXAS: GOVERNMENT: Texas $37 Million Physical Education Program Did Not Reduce Obesity


David P. Dillard
 

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MEDICAL: CONDITIONS: OBESITY :

PHYSICAL EXERCISE AND FITNESS: PROGRAMS: EFFECTIVENESS :

GOVERNMENT FUNDED PROGRAMS :

UNITED: STATES: STATES: TEXAS: GOVERNMENT:

Texas $37 Million Physical Education Program Did Not Reduce Obesity

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Texas $37 Million Physical Education Program Did Not Reduce Obesity

August 24, 2015

UT News

University of Texas at Austin

http://news.utexas.edu/2015/08/24/ texas-37m-physical-education-program-didnt-reduce-obesity

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/nzykeen

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AUSTIN, Texas Between 2007 and 2011, the State of Texas spent $37 million on grants to help high-poverty middle schools reduce obesity through physical education. The grant program, called Texas Fitness Now, provided grants to the poorest 24 percent of Texas middle schools in 2007-09, and it made grants to the poorest 40 percent of middle schools in 2009-11.

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Yet a new article by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin reports that Texas Fitness Now had no effect on childrens weight. Middle school obesity rates held steady during Texas Fitness Now, both in schools that received the grants and in schools that did not.

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The article, written by Paul von Hippel and Kyle Bradbury at UT Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs, is the largest study ever conducted of a physical education (PE) program. Using publicly available data, the authors analyzed obesity rates at more than 1,150 middle schools enrolling more than 770,000 students per year.

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Schools spent most of their grants on sports and fitness equipment, according to the article. Although the grants did not reduce obesity, they did increase fitness. The fitness benefits were greatest in measures of strength, and greater for girls than for boys.

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As a result of the grants, both boys and girls in high-poverty middle schools could complete more pushups and a faster shuttle run, the researchers found. Girls could also complete more curlups, a higher trunk lift, and had a better sit and reach. But the grants did not increase shoulder flexibility or help children run a mile more quickly.

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State guidelines for Texas Fitness Now predicted that the program would improve academic achievement because through increased fitness, students cognitive ability will improve. Yet the article reached mixed conclusions on the grants academic effects. On average, the grants had no effect on math or reading scores, but they may have improved scores among seventh- and eighth-graders who spent two to three years in participating schools.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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