Minneapolis Schools Work to Improve Physical Education and Nutritional Programs

Written by Stacey Andell for Schools K-12

Minneapolis Schools Honored by Governors

Minneapolis Schools have made numerous changes in order to create better physical education and nutritional programs with the goal to make the healthiest schools in the state. Minneapolis Schools were honored for the many steps that they have taken to improve student fitness at all the schools. Minneapolis Schools have instituted several changes including: changes in school lunch menus, physical education taught through a fitness approach, and participation in the President’s Active Lifestyle Award program. These changes were mentioned by Minnesota State Governor Tim Pawlenty when he was speaking about healthy schools across the state at a Saint Paul YMCA with Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee. The governors spoke to students about the importance of exercise and nutrition. Governor Huckabee was there to provide an example of how exercise and proper eating can work; Huckabee has lost over 100 pounds. To show the change Huckabee’s weight loss has had on his life, the governors briefly carried a student on their backs to show how much extra weight Huckabee had been carrying with him.

Minneapolis Schools Take Part in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award

The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award program is designed to help students in the Minneapolis Schools make and keep their commitment to living an active life. The program helps students make realistic goals about fitness. This program helps the students by setting rules to follow and providing fitness logs so students can track their progress. Students who participate in the program are eligible for Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards when they perform activity beyond the set fitness goal of sixty minutes a day for youths under 18 at least 5 days per week, for a total of 6 weeks. As an alternative you can count your daily activity steps using a pedometer. A pedometer is a small device that automatically counts the number of steps a student takes; many Minneapolis Schools physical education programs have them. The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award program sets different pedometer goals for different ages and genders: Girls 6 to 17 - At least 11,000 steps a day; Boys 6 to 17 - At least 13,000 steps a day or
Adults 18 or older - At least 8,500 steps a day

The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award program in Minneapolis Schools allows lots of different activities to count towards the awards, as long as the activity uses muscle groups and burns energy. Examples of appropriate activities are taking a long walk, playing basketball, tennis or taking an aerobics class. Even doing chores around the house if you do these activities in addition to what you normally do. The goal of the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award program is to have students meet or exceed the daily activity goal of sixty minutes a day for children under 18 at least 5 days a week, for a total of 6 weeks but participants can take up to 8 weeks to complete the program. An important element of the program is having students keep a personal activity log. The online personal activity log allows the students to track how long through the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award website. Minneapolis Schools have allowed participants to uses school computers to participate in the program. The Presidential Active Lifestyle Awards are awarded to those participants who have reached their fitness goals. The online log will automatically inform the student when an award has been reached, after that the students can order the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award online or by mail. The program always the students to continue earning awards or move into the more difficult challenge level of the Presidential Champions program.