Mike Bloomberg, whose Administration has made education a priority, has bragged on rising test scores, greater matriculation into CUNY schools, and especially the shrinking achievement gap between minority students and white students. But what about the achievement gap between physically fit and physically unfit students? There we are found wanting by a Department of Health study, which finds that kids ranking among the top five percent in physical fitness score an average of 36 percentage points higher than kids in the bottom five percent.
The study finds more than 20 percent of city schoolkids are “obese,” and (unsurprisingly), “Overweight and obese students are less physically fit.” So their big takeaway is, “Childhood Obesity is a Serious Concern in New York City.” We beg to differ. Prince Fielder, the pudgy (5’11”, 260 pounds) star of the Milwaukee Brewers, won the MLB home run derby last night. Is he physically unfit? We appreciate the city’s concern for the diet of our children, but suggest instead of prescribing weight loss, they get the chunkier students out on the diamond and teach them to put their weight behind a few fastballs. The resulting improvement in self-esteem may carry over into their classroom work. They might also put up some posters of Babe Ruth. Image via Wikipedia.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 14, 2009