Health & Fitness Columnist

Clinton aims to improve adolescent fitness

By John Taylor | Oct 23, 2012
John Taylor

Former United States President Bill Clinton has teamed with Reebok to advocate BOKS, an initiative that aims to provide schools with fitness DVD’s that students can follow in order to get moving throughout their day.
This campaign, entitled “The Fit for a Healthier Generation,” will offer students fitness sessions that last three-to-five minutes, and have been endorsed by “The Biggest Loser” trainer Bob Harper, “TaeBo” creator Billy Blanks, model and celebrity yoga instructor Tara Stiles, and global fitness brand Zumba Fitness.
“The Fit for a Healthier Generation” has already announced they have orders to distribute 30,000 DVD’s to schools throughout the country.
The formal announcement of Clinton’s partnership with Reebok will come at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program Forum in Little Rock, Arkansas later this year. The conference will provide the 251 scholastic institutions deemed to be the healthiest schools in the United States with a national recognition award. Clinton and other celebrity endorsers will debut some “Fit for a Healthier Generation” fitness routines with live demonstrations to the 350 conference participants from around the country.
“Less than four percent of elementary schools, eight percent of middle schools and two percent of high schools provide opportunities for daily physical education,” said Clinton in a press release. “By bringing together some of the leading experts on physical activity in the country, we can show the benefits of living fit and help kids lead healthier lives.”
What is intriguing to me about this new campaign is that the DVD’s are affordably priced, and joining the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program online program is completely free. Once a member, schools have access to hundreds of resources, including a variety of no-cost technical tools that can help decrease the childhood obesity rates in their institution.
Now school leaders who choose to join this campaign should assign multiple three-to-five minute breaks throughout the school day so students can exercise to one of these DVD’s. However, some school administrators may choose to leave it up to the individual teachers when they plan to offer these fitness opportunities.
Allowing classroom teachers to decide when they will provide learners with exercise opportunities is a horrible mistake. When I was performing my student teaching, one of the biggest complaints I heard from classroom teachers was, “I don’t feel comfortable having students exercise in the class.” This was either due to the loss of core subject instructional time, concerns about injury due to space limitations, or a lack of knowledge about exercise prescription.
If an administration chooses to participate in this campaign, they need to assign which times the DVD’s will be used, and require each teacher to ensure students are following the fitness regimen.
If a teacher is competent and willing, they should have little difficulty getting students to follow the movements on the video for three-to-five minutes. If a teacher causes a fuss about using these videos, perhaps they should rethink how much they really care about their student’s overall health.
It’s awesome if a student can recite Shakespeare, but if they have an obese BMI, their English teacher should realize that the number of years they can enjoy “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet” will be cut short.