My name is Adeline Christensen and I am currently a freshman attending Aspen High School. I am writing to you to address a topic that needs to be improved upon specifically within Aspen’s health education. I believe that our high schools need to open and offer more PE classes and opportunities in school. For high school students only one Physical Education class is offered as an elective. This class has limited space and is also only available every other day of the week for a class period of an hour and 20 minutes. The CDC states, “…recommend that children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 years do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.” Adding on to this another article states, “SHAPE (Society for Health and Physical Educators) America recommends that schools provide 150 minutes of instructional PE for elementary students and 225 minutes for middle and high school students per week for the entire school year.” This is important to note because we are not offering enough time and classes for this to be available to everyone that attends Aspen High School.
Based on the Healthy Kids Colorado survey taken at Aspen High School in 2019, only 17.6% of the total student population attended a PE or Physical Education class at least once throughout the week. This shows how little we enforce and provide for our students in PE classes. The fact that a little over 8/10th of the student body were not attending or taking PE shows that we really need to offer more to our students. Because these students were only attending at least once throughout the week, this means that the minimum amount of activity students received at school was only about an hour and 20 minutes or 80 minutes. This is well under the 225 minutes that the CDC recommends for school PE classes.
Additionally, from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey results, about 53.5% of the students were active for at least 60 minutes throughout the past 5-7 days. This number is significantly higher than the PE class statistic. Because this number is higher this shows that students are better at staying active outside of school. This percentage result is still missing almost half the population of high schoolers who need opportunities to be active..We should increase this number and expose more students in school to physical activity that they could then use outside of school. If we as a school were to offer more physical education classes we could potentially increase this number even more. If we were to offer more class times and options that appeal to more students by doing things like including activities students do outside of school, we would really see an increase in this area and the PE statical area as well.
Physical activity and exercise comes with a long list of benefits. One of these includes the early prevention of diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and also some types of cancers and can also help control obesity and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, one of the most beneficial outcomes of physical activity includes the effects it has on brain health. According to the CDC, “Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and anxiety and help you sleep better.” This can also really impact high school students in a positive way because we can create better sleep schedules, learn more and think better in school, and reduce stress. This will create a better environment mentally, academically, and physically.
Over all, Aspen High School needs to improve and expand it’s PE department because of the many benefits it presents. This will create an environment that everyone can thrive in, in all areas.
“CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 Apr. 2020, www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/facts.htm.
“Daily Physical Education.” Action for Healthy Kids, www.actionforhealthykids.org/activity/daily-physical-education/#:~:text=SHAPE%20.
“Physical Education.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 Apr. 2020, www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/physical-education.htm.
“Benefits of Physical Activity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 Apr. 2021, www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm.