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New emphasis on fitness needed

RE DERRICK Z. Jackson’s “Generation fitness; In Arlington, a model for a nation’’ (Op-ed, Feb. 26): more districts should be taking a closer look at physical education programs like the one in Arlington.

Right now, the major controversy in education revolves around No Child Left Behind and whether schools should be subject to standardized testing. That debate is a topic on its own, but I think that if we really want “no children left behind’’ in a nation plagued by obesity and heart disease, we need to look at the physical education system.

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As Jackson points out, it was Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy who first pushed the idea of a fitter America. Kennedy also put forth the Presidential Fitness Test, in an attempt to keep students up to a physical standard. The test still exists today, albeit with slight variations.

A new emphasis on fitness testing in schools would be a tremendous benefit to today’s students, encouraging more programs such as Arlington’s. And when you look at impact obesity and heart disease have had on our society (and our health care bills), more federal funding to encourage such programs hardly seems unreasonable.

Jim Covino


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