Few Preschoolers Meet Anti-Obesity Guidelines

Obesity has long been a serious health issue in America, with 36.5% of adults now meeting the CDC’s definition.  Since preschool children who are overweight face four times the risk of being overweight as adults, the state of Maine and Harvard University have devised guidelines for children known as “5-2-1-0.”  This concept recommends that children eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, get no more than 2 hours of screen time, perform at least 1 hour of physical activity, and drink 0 sweetened beverages.
A study conducted by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has found, however, that among the 398 children observed during a 24 hour period, only one child met all of the guidelines.  Less than 1% met the guideline for exercise; 17% failed to get emough fruits and vegetables; 50% had sugary drinks; and 19% spent too much time in front of a screen.  According to the researchers, a quarter of the children in the study were already overweight.
This study points toward parents as having a great responsibility in ensuring better future health outcomes for their children.  The findings were published in Preventive Medicine Reports.  You can find the article here:

VB SPARK Meeting on Wednesday, February 21

VB SPARK will hold a meeting of its general membership on Wednesday, February 21, at 6:30 p.m., in the atrium at Princess Anne High School.

Our guest speaker will be former NFL player Aaron Rouse.   As a student at First Colonial High School, he  excelled at outside linebacker and wide receiver, earning Defensive Player of the Year, as well as First Team Group AAA.  After graduation he played for Virginia Tech, where he was recognized as Freshman All-American, and later as All-ACC.  He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers, and went on to play for both NFL and UFL teams.  He will speak about the challenges of being a student-athlete.

The event is open to the public.

Letter Grades Under Attack

Jennifer C. Braceras, a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum, has written a very timely article for the Wall Street Journal titled “The War on Grades Deserves to Fail.”  Schools across the country are abandoning traditional letter grades in favor of systems that purport to measure “progress toward competency” — rather than actual academic achievement.
“This type of ‘standards-based grading’ (as it is called) represents more than a change in nomenclature.  Whereas letter grades (or numeric percentages) measure the work a student has completed, the new system is concerned primarily with what the student will be able to do by year’s end…. This method of assessment makes even less sense in high school, where students are savvy enough to know that they need not work hard in October to show proficiency in June.”
Braceras points out that these alternative grading systems say little about whether students have in fact learned anything, whether they can meet deadlines, or whether they engage actively in the classroom, all of which are captured  via traditional grading, and which are critical for success after graduation.