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Program 'SPARKs' physical fitness for NC students

Posted February 25, 2011

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— About 43 percent of North Carolina’s elementary and middle school students have habits that could lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes later on in life, according to a study released this month from the North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

The report, which looks at the results of fitness testing of more than 82,000 students, also found that 70 percent of school children don’t get the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended hour of daily exercise and that 47 percent spend two or more hours a day watching TV or on a computer.

A relatively new effort, called SPARK, aims to jump-start children into physical fitness in an effort to reduce the risks of obesity.

The program is being used for the first time this year in PE classes in Wake County schools.

“It’s a new movement of getting kids physically active for as long as possible in class,” says Wesley Lawson, a physical education teacher at Dillard Drive Elementary School.

The SPARK curriculum provides every student with the same high-quality, low-competitive physical education.

Instead of long periods of inactivity for roll call, stretching, activity demonstration and teaming, thousands of PE teachers in the state get students moving as soon as class begins.


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  • bowhunterjunkie Mar 4, 2011

    Most schools do PE once per week for each class, a few two times. It has been that way a while, not just budget cuts but because of time sake. We have PE every day and play some sort of organized game for 25-30 minutes a day. That is up to each school and teacher.

  • Reader X Feb 28, 2011

    What PE classes? All my friends tell me their kids only get PE one day a week because it is considered not important or some type of elective. Classes such as PE, the library and music were part of budget cuts. I know the mom's want PE back in school because they are tired of picking up the kids and they are exploding with too much energy from sitting at their desks all day. That is just what I hear- I am not a parent but do believe in physical exercise and eating right.

  • hollylama Feb 28, 2011

    What ever happened to recess and kickball?