Rethinking Los Angeles Schools

Rethinking Los Angeles Schools Welcome to today’s Healthy Los Angeles Children blog. This site is dedicated to promoting children’s health in the Los Angeles area.

Unless you have been living in a cave for the last 20 years, you have heard about the obesity epidemic among U.S. children.

There are many worthwhile programs in the Los Angeles community that promote healthy eating habits and increased exercise for our youngest residents. I came across an interesting article last week that focused on how the design of schools can affect children’s health in general and obesity rates in particular.

‘Many schools were planned without thought given to how students can safely walk or ride their bikes to school. Playgrounds have been cut from budgets. An overemphasis on competitive sports has created a disproportionate amount of funding going to a select group of high profile sports, while minimizing the opportunities for the majority of students who desperately need exercise.’ Joel K. Sims, AIA, “Designing Schools To Fight Childhood Obesity,” School Designer, May 2007, http://www.schooldesigner.com/Articles/Designing-Schools-to-Fight-Childhood-Obesity-Part-1.asp, accessed on May 16, 2011

Here are some suggestions for making schools fitness-friendly:

  • Incorporate features of professional health clubs
  • Partner with community fitness centers to create multi-use facilities
  • Combine electronic entertainment and exercise
  • Incorporate movement into lesson plans

As we plan for new and renovated Los Angeles schools, let’s take our children’s fitness into consideration. As Los Angeles parents and educators, we can also promote lesson plans that incorporate movement. I also believe we need to look at how our tax dollars are spent. Do competitive sports programs in California receive more than their fair share of available funds? Could we better use this money to provide exercise opportunities for all Los Angeles children?

I encourage you to raise awareness of these issues in your California city. The only thing that will spur change is if parents, educators, and government leaders work together to lower the obesity rates in our California communities.

Patti Langell
310-200-7097
yeahchocolate@live.com