Health and Recreation in the News

Health and Recreation in the News

March 2006

Exercise Shown to Improve Brain Function
(Naperville, IL) - On May 2, Dr. John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School will present the newer data from the world of neuroscience that clearly shows how physical exercise has effects on the brain that helps promote learning, regulate mood and improve self-esteem and motivation. The findings about physical activity and brain functioning reflect a growing understanding of the brain's amazing ability to adapt and develop. In addition to the findings about exercise and brain function, Dr. Ratey will also share the potential for brain research to reshape classroom practice to increase student achievement.

American Hiking Society Partners with the CDC
The American Hiking Society recently partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to publish and distribute 20,000 copies of a new trails outreach brochure in English (Trails and Health) and in Spanish (Senderos para la Salud) outlining the many health benefits of recreating on trails.

February 2006

Renewing Physical Education in California’s Public Schools
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed spending $85 million in FY 2007 to support the renewal of physical education programs in California’s public schools. The California Department of Education has found that 75% of fifth graders failed to meet the state’s physical fitness standards and 28% of these students are overweight. If funded, this initiative could become a national model for re-establishing physical education as an essential component of the public school curriculum. According to health care professionals, establishing a life-long love of physical activity in children would help to lower the $13 billion annual cost of physical inactivity in adults in California.
To read more about the Governor’s initiative, Click Here.

Passport Programs in Several States Get Kids on Skis for Free
The winter sports industry has created a program to get fifth graders outdoors in winter, providing grants for recreation equipment, such as snowshoes and trail passes. Eight northern states have programs this winter. The insurance industry also sponsors programs in some states to get kids and adults involved in outdoor recreation by supplying equipment.
Source: SnowSports Industries America
To learn more, Click Here.

Obesity in American Children Ages 6-11
A 2005 survey of 6-11 year old American children conducted by Mediamark Research, Inc. revealed that 59% of boys and 53.4% of girls ages 6-11 have televisions in their bedrooms. No surprise then that the American Obesity Association reports that approximately 30.3 percent of children (ages 6 to 11) are overweight and 15.3 percent are obese. For adolescents (ages 12 to 19), 30.4 percent are overweight and 15.5 percent are obese. Excess weight in childhood and adolescence has been found to predict overweight in adults. Overweight children, ages 10 to 14, with at least one overweight or obese parent were reported to have a 79 percent likelihood of overweight persisting into adulthood. Overweight prevalence is higher in boys (32.7 percent) than girls (27.8 percent). In adolescents, overweight prevalence is about the same for females (30.2 percent) and males (30.5 percent). The prevalence of childhood obesity quadrupled between 1974 and 2000 among boys and girls.
American Obesity Association Click Here.
Mediamark Research, Inc. Click Here.

Archived Health and Recreation News

Designing for Active Recreation

Active Living Research
February 2005

Being physically active is more than just a matter of personal choice. A growing number of studies show that people in activity-friendly environments are more likely to be physically active in their leisure time.
Click here to read more


Take Pride in America's Health: Volunteering as a Gateway to Physical Activity

American Journal of Health Education
January/February 2005

A recent study found that volunteer programs may play a role in increasing levels of physical activity. In some cases volunteer programs may simultaneously improve individual health, benefit the environment and increase the public's opportunities for physical activity. Those who volunteer on environmental issues are 2.6 times more likely to meet physical activity recommendations as those who do not volunteer for these issues. Environmental projects such as maintaining trails, planting trees and cleaning parks, may be important for individual fitness because of their potential for high levels of physical activity.
Click here to read more


Inadequate Physical Activity Worsens As Teenagers Become Adults

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
October 26, 2004

While promoting physical activity and encouraging people to limit the time they spend watching television are important throughout life, those efforts are critical before adolescence, a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill investigation concludes. Click Here, to read more.


Physically Fit Children Appear To Do Better In Classroom

Science Daily
October 19, 2004

The health benefits of exercise – across the lifespan – have been well documented. More recently, scientists have begun to demonstrate that exercise also may improve cognitive functioning in older adults. But what about children? Are physically fit kids better suited to compete not only on the ball field, but in the classroom as well? “We have found a strong relationship between academic achievement and fitness scores,” said Darla Castelli, a professor of kinesiology whose area of expertise is effective physical education practices. “Those who scored well in academics also did well in physical fitness. Read the complete story at


Snowshoeing Introduced to P.E. Classes in Virginia

Snowsports Industries America
August 25, 2004

P.E. Classes have traditionally focused on sports rather than lifetime fitness oriented actvities. To break this chain, the Snowsports Industry has teamed up with The President's Council on Physical Fitness to educate adults and children about the life-long health, fitness and social benefits of snowshoeing and other snowsports. Click here to read more.


An Abundance of Recreation Opportunities May Help Make Colorado this Country's "Thinnest State"

Move On This Way
Washington Post
July 20, 2004

Colorado's statewide zeal for active outdoor living has its rewards -- particularly around the waistline. For years now, federal studies have consistently ranked Colorado as America's thinnest state. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 16.5 percent of Coloradans meet the clinical standard for obesity -- the lowest percentage of any state. To read the rest of the Washington Post article, click here.