Archive for May, 2013

The Top 5 Worst Kids’ Lunch Foods

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

When it comes to providing kids with the best nutrition to keep them going strong, traditional PE programs alone may not suffice. Since kids are notorious for being picky eaters, this can make it difficult as a parent or after school program coordinator to find foods that kids will enjoy eating and that are healthy for them as well. Teaching healthy eating habits is just one of several elements of a coordinated school health program. Whether it’s the ingredients, labeling, or nutritional value, learn why each of the popular kids’ foods listed below that can actually do more harm than good in fighting childhood obesity.

Top 5 Worst Lunch Foods

Fitness Is Fleeting (Or, It’s A Cruel, Cruel Summer)

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

When Dr. Thom McKenzie and I were finished presenting “It was 20 Years Ago Today” (full video below) at AAHPERD this year, we fielded a number of good questions from audience members.  One was regarding research questions that remain unanswered.  In response, I mentioned that when we did the original SPARK study, we were able to increase student fitness levels significantly during the school year – far beyond their start of school baseline.

However, when these same students returned to school after their summer vacations their fitness levels were much lower – nearly at the baseline levels from the previous fall.  In a sense, both students and teachers were starting over again in the new school year.  This despite our efforts to give students PAL’s (physical activity logs) and a number of solid behavior change lessons designed to motivate and monitor their own fitness levels while away from school over the summer.

So, how can teachers effectively apply behavior change principles during PE class during the school year so the results students achieve will at least maintain over summer vacation?

At SPARK, we’re continuing to work on developing better tools and teaching strategies to address this issue.  Below, find hyperlinks to several sample documents we’ve created and integrated into our elementary, middle, and high school physical education programs.  Our hope is they’ll “SPARK some thought,” and that you’ll try them, supplement them, and help address the fitness decline usually seen during summer vacations:

These are just a few examples of the great content in each of these programs.  Learn more about SPARK K-2 PE, SPARK 3-6 PE, SPARK Middle School PE and SPARK High School PE.

-Paul Rosengard, SPARK Executive Director

Urgent Action Needed from Texas School Health Advocates

Friday, May 17th, 2013

From Marissa Rathbone, Director of Policy and Programs, ACTIVE Life

Dear Texas School Health Advocates,

We need you! (And just for a few minutes…)

House Bill 1018, designed to propel the work of School Health Advisory Councils (SHAC) throughout the state, has been recommended for referral to the Senate Local and Consent (having made it *almost* ALL the way through the legislative process).  If it is not set for the Senate and Local Consent Calendar TODAY, we will lose the opportunity to support our schools, students, and communities in this proactive and positive way.

It won’t happen without your help.

HB 1018

  • Establishes a SHAC subcommittee that aims to improve current and future physical activity and fitness programming for students and staff while strengthening existing policies and programs that improve student health.
  • Asks the SHAC to review and make recommendations regarding the value of resource and revenue-generating joint (land) use agreements.
  • Reminds school districts of the requirement to implement SHACs with due diligence (i.e. meets 4 times/year, parent as chair/co-chair, etc.).
  • Provides organizations, schools, and state agencies with the opportunity to have a dialogue with school district leadership about making health a priority.

Please call, email and/or visit one of the following (especially the chair) of the Senate Administration Committee today to ask that they assign HB 1018 to the Local and Consent Calendar.  If we are unable to get it assigned to the calendar today, it will likely fade away.


Chair: Sen. Kevin Eltife
Vice Chair: Sen. Carlos Uresti
Members: Sen. John Carona
Sen. Kelly Hancock
Sen. John Whitmire
Sen. Tommy Williams
Sen. Judith Zaffirini

Phone Script: “Please assign HB 1018 to the Senate Local and Consent Calendar.   It costs the schools NO money, provides resources and potential revenue for school districts, is entirely volunteer-based, is good for schools and students, and has universal backing by schools and constituent groups.  It has received all favorable votes.”

HB 1018 is what we’ve been waiting for…so it is GO time!

Marissa Rathbone

Director of Policy and Programs, ACTIVE Life