| December 20, 2005
About one-third of teens would flunk an exercise treadmill test. That’s sad.
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The kids aren’t fit for a job that involves labor. And to hear the complains from the education side, they aren’t fit for careers requiring much smarts. America is in big trouble.
Amazing. When I was a schoolgirl in Eastern Europe I thought I was unfit because I barely managed to get a C in physical education and couldn’t run as fast as government-set standards decried or jump as high or as wide, among other things. But even at my low level of fitness I could probably do the stress test barely breaking into a sweat – when I was in my 30s my doctor referred me to it for some chest pain (probably some muscle things, but since I have family history…); at the end I thought “this is it? you must be kidding? I thought it was supposed to be strenuous – I could go on”. 8 minutes for a kid to walk fast? Most of the games we played outside as kids involved jumping or running around for much longer than that. It was not labor – those were games. Makes a huge difference when it is something you don’t have to do and only do because it is fun. We also walked to school and with small exception our parents didn’t have cars. I was slim without even trying and I really don’t remember anyone in my class who was as fat as some kids I see around here. And nobody even talked about “going on a diet” until college. Some kids were plump – maybe a few pounds overweight, but not even close to the kids here and now. I think the problem is that there is too much TV, too much video games and not enough space to play outside. One thing that stuck me when I came to the US 25 years ago is that there were almost no kids playing outside, no squares for jumping on the pavement, no kids playing with jumping rope trying to show each other how many times they can do it without breaks, very few kids playing with a ball. It seems that many kids here just sit in front of the TV all day and eat and drink coca cola. BTW. why do Americans need to put so much sugar into everything – all sweets here taste about twice as sweet as anywhere in Europe.
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