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From The CriticsReviewer: Ted Scheck, BA, MS, Certified, G&T(Sidener Academy for High Ability Students)
Description: First published in 1999, this second edition covers much ground regarding health, childhood obesity, and the alarming spread of cardiovascular diseases as a result of a more sedentary lifestyle. Part I and the introduction begin strong, with a "National Call to Promote Physical Activity" and chapters that lay the foundation for promoting physical activity. Part II deals with the various approaches and interventions: informational, behavioral, social, and environmental. Part III covers planning, implementing, and evaluating an intervention program. Part IV is the appendix section, in my opinion the best part of the book, on subjects ranging from physical activity and disability to a report from the surgeon general on physical activity and health. The resources are sufficient for nearly anyone's needs, including a thorough index. The references number in the hundreds and you could lose yourself for weeks going through them.
Purpose: The purpose is in the title. It sounds simple, but as a physical education teacher with only 30 minutes in which to do my job at any given time, I find it can be daunting to try to get some kids to move when it is so easy not to move. The book is worthy and necessary. It is needed for program directors of YMCAs and Boys' and Girls' Clubs, and middle and high school health teachers. The book meets the author's objectives and is thorough and thought-provoking in message and style.
Audience: The book is written for anyone with an interest in gaining a general understanding of health as it relates to movement (and the opposite of movement — a sedentary lifestyle) and for members of the medical field trying to prescribe exercise as a preventive measure for controlling chronic disease later in life. Health teachers, doctors, nurses, program directors of health-inducing and recreational organizations would benefit from this book. The authors are the top echelon at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and they have the research to back up their data. For physical education teachers, this book is adequate in some parts and good in others. I was looking for more specialized information regarding cardiovascular diseases and their prevention, and instead got very basic and almost bland public information from the CDC.
Features: I enjoyed the introduction, which touches on a point that I've been hearing and reading so often lately that it no longer has the power to alarm — that movement is being engineered out of our daily lives. Most people, even children, know that the more and the more often you move, the healthier you become and that sitting around for great lengths of time is bad for you, but whatever it is that we think we're accomplishing is not working. The best part of the book is the theme from the beginning that we are not motivating overweight and obese children enough to have a measurable effect on their sedentary lifestyles. It has to start as a practiced behavior at home. If Mom and Dad and dog Skippy and neighbors Stan and Ollie go out for community walks around the block every night at 6 p.m., the children will take notice. But parents have to do more than suggest. They have to insist. "Get on your bike. Let's go to the park. Run! Run around on the grass and exercise!" The book prescribes methods and ways and reasons to get the entire community involved in galvanizing the neighborhood into action. The book is very thorough in its systematic approach to organizing, planning, and implementing a community to change itself for the better. The only shortcoming is my own; I expected a focus on the local elementary school physical education program, but I suppose the government is assuming that I'm doing my job and physically educating my students. (I can tell you that I am doing my job!) This book, in its healthy approach, is an answer for a nation practically begging for someone to get behind them, and kick-start them in the behind, to get them to exercise.
Assessment: This is a great book for the intended audience, full of photos, illustrations, graphs, and reproducible art that can be used to help the cause of fighting inactivity and sedentary lifestyles. This book was not for me, but I am glad I was able to review it. I teach two days a week at a school that is attached, both physically and otherwise, to a YMCA, and it was grateful to get my copy.