UL study: more than half of La. school children overweight
More than half of Louisiana's schoolchildren are classified as overweight or obese, according to a new study released by UL Lafayette's Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning. “We’ve seen over three decades of children gaining weight due to poor eating habits, a decrease in physical activity, and an increase in television and media use," said Dr. Billy R. Stokes, Executive Director of the Picard Center, in a news release. "Turning this trend around will take time, but we’re headed in the right direction by collecting the right data to use for effective interventions.”
The study is based on data gathered last year during physical fitness assessments at schools in St. Martin, Caddo, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Ouachita and Sabine parishes. Of the 14,305 students who were assessed, 47 percent were classified as healthy, 32 percent were classified as obese, 20 percent were classified as overweight and 1 percent were classified as underweight.
The fitness assessments will expand this spring to include more than 20,000 additional students in Lafayette, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana and St. Mary parishes. A state law passed last year called for an expansion of health-related physical fitness assessments. The Picard Center is working in tandem with the state Department of Education, the Department of Health and Hospitals, the Governor's Council of Physical Fitness and Sports and the Louisiana Council on Obesity Prevention and Management in studying the issue and coming up with strategies to address the problem.
The Picard Center also is planning to replicate a study that was recently conducted in Texas that correlates physical fitness assessment results to academic outcomes and behavior incidences. “This is an opportunity to investigate the relationship between student academic performance and physical fitness on Louisiana students, said Dr. Holly Howat, Project Director for the Fitnessgram Administration at the Picard Center, in the release. "The results of this type of study can directly help principals, school superintendents and school boards as well as state
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.