Some Ogden schools trading recess for instruction

Published: Monday, March 25 2013 2:55 p.m. MDT

Linda Mayne, interim health and physical education specialist for the State Office of Education, said the state does not dictate how much time students should spend in recess, instead allowing local school communities to make those decisions. She acknowledged that schools are under increasing pressure to perform in academic areas like math and English, but was also concerned that schools may be tempted to limit a student's chances to be active during the day.

"I would hope everyone would be concerned," she said. "We are currently observing a rise in childhood diabetes."

Mayne agreed that structured PE courses potentially contribute more to lasting lifestyle choices than the disorganized play of recess. But she said its clear that giving students time during the day for activity helps them focus and perform better in class.

"Kids do better if they get out and run," she said. "It gets blood flowing, and they just do better."

Corby said Ogden teachers who elect to suspend the afternoon recess are encouraged to give students an opportunity to walk around and use the restroom or to even lead the class in a short period of basic calisthenics.

"Childhood obesity is a larger problem than the amount of time that a child is at recess," she said. "The Ogden School District is very interested in promoting healthy lifestyles in our students."

E-mail: benwood@deseretnews.com

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