Newsletter Article

How to Keep Kids Active with Less Time for PE

March 2017

Children typically engage in some type of structured physical education (PE) program during school hours. However, as more schools cut back on PE time requirements, many children are not reaching the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day. In addition, many schools are assigning this role to regular classroom teachers, instead of a trained PE teacher.[1] Because these teachers lack a physical education background, the structuring and planning of activities may not be as well developed as with a PE teacher. This means that not only has overall time spent in PE been reduced in schools, but the limited PE time is often poorly structured, which results even less time spent in MVPA for children.

During the school year, children need to increase their activity during after-school programs or at home to make up what they are missing from new PE standards. A study surveyed students on whether their school offered after-school physical activity, access to play areas/fields, and the presence of sports facilities.[2] The students’ activity levels were measured via accelerometer. All of the school environment variables were significantly associated with self-reported activity during after-school activity and the attainment of 60 minutes in MVPA. After-school activity was most strongly associated with access to supervised physical activity, meaning that after-school programs may be necessary for children to get the proper amount of activity during the school year.

There is some research that suggests weight gain in some children occurs primarily during the summer months between the school year.[3] This may be due a less structured environment, which leads to increased calorie consumption and decreased physical activity.[4,5] Summer day camps may be a way to help battle this weight gain by increasing the amount of activity children get compared to staying at home. In two different studies on activity during a summer day camp, campers averaged 60 minutes of MVPA in one camp and 90 minutes of MVPA in the other. There was a gender difference in both of the studies with boys averaging more MVPA minutes than girls. Summer camps with structured activity may help children maintain or even increase their activity levels between school years.

After-school programs and summer day camps may be necessary in order reach the activity levels needed for children. With changes to school curriculum and more sedentary characteristics that are occurring in homes, these types of programs can help children establish healthy habits and patterns, as well as promote healthy development at this important age.


Cabbage is a member of the cruciferous food family, which also includes kale, broccoli, collards, and brussel sprouts.[6] Cabbages come in both red and green varieties. Red cabbages can range in color from pale pink to a very dark purple, sometimes referred to as “black” cabbage. The green varieties range from deep dark green to a very light shade often called “white”cabbage. Savoy is a another variation with delicate and ruffled leaves. Because cabbage is quite varied and so closely related to other cruciferous vegetables, it’s exact origins are debated. However most research points to wild cabbage in Europe as the most direct ancestor of our current cabbage.

There are almost 20 different flavonoids and 15 different phenols in cabbage. These powerful antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties and may be responsible for fighting a variety of diseases. More and more research is showing that they are most helpful at decreasing the risk for several different cardiovascular diseases. The anthocyanins found in red cabbage can protect red blood cells, and cabbage intake has been found to improve total blood antioxidant capacity and lower LDL levels.

In a study in Denmark, researchers linked these compounds with the prevention of type 2 diabetes. In this study, adults who followed the Nordik Food Index were found to have the lowest incidence of type 2 diabetes. This health benefit was linked to fish, rye bread, oatmeal, apples and pears, root vegetables, and cabbage.

When selecting cabbage, choose a head that is firm and dense with little to no bruising, blemishes, or cracks on the leaves. Store the cabbage in the refrigerator crisper to keep it fresh for up to 2 weeks. Savoy cabbage will keep for about 1 week this way. Many people tend to steam or boil cabbage, but this can make it taste watery. Sauteing cabbage helps to keep its flavor and texture.

Egg Roll in a Bowl

1 pound ground pork
1 – 16-ounce bag coleslaw mix (shredded carrots and cabbage)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
⅓ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Green onions, for garnish


  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the pork over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the shredded cabbage and carrots, and stir to combine.
  4. Add the sauce mixture to the meat and veggies. Stir and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the cabbage has just begun to wilt but is still crunchy.
  5. Serve over rice, garnished with green onions if desired.

Recipe from

Massage for Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness that results from resistance training or exercise is referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This soreness can start just a few hours after working out and may last for several days. DOMS can prevent or hinder a future workout and can even be painful enough to affect everyday activities. To help reduce the effects of DOMS, a study compared the use of vibration therapy or a massage by measuring soreness, range of motion, and one rep max.[7] Compared to the control group, both the vibration therapy group and the massage group reported significantly less soreness at 24, 48, and 72 hours after exercise. Both of the experimental groups also showed better range of motion at 48 and 72 hours. The massage group showed significant recovery in the one rep max compared to the control group. This showed that both treatments were effective at the primary objective of reducing soreness.

To help determine if there may be a cross-over effect from a massaged limb to a non-massaged limb.[8] Subjects were treated 48 hours after a DOMS inducing workout. The subjects had one limb massaged for 10 minutes. The massage group showed increasingly improved soreness and pressure pain threshold over time compared to the control group. The non-massaged limb showed improved soreness at 10 minutes, but this effect was lost 30 minutes after the massage.

A massage can help to reduce muscle soreness and range of motion. This can help with normal activities or the next workout. Any cross-over effects from a one-sided massage appear to be very short lived, so make sure you are getting both sides massaged.

Health Matters is written by Lindsey Guthrie, MS, RD, LD/N and Tyler Guthrie, MS, CSCS.


  1. Larouche R, Trudeau F, Shephard RJ. The challenge of quality physical education. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2017.
  2. Thornton CM, Cain KL, Conway TL, et al. Relation of Adolescents’ Physical Activity to After-School Recreation Environment. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2017.
  3. Baranowski T, O’Connor T, Johnston C, et al. School year versus summer differences in child weight gain: a narrative review. Childhood Obesity. 2014; 10(1):18.
  4. Baker BL, Johnson LG, McGregor A. Physical Activity Differences Among Children Attending a Summer Day Camp. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. 2015; 86.
  5. Brazendale K, Beets MW, Weaver RG, et al. Children’s Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity Attending Summer Day Camps. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2017.
  6. The World’s Healthiest Foods. Cabbage.
  7. Imtiyaz S, Veqar Z, Shareef MY. To compare the effect of vibration therapy and massage in prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. 2014; 8(1): 133.
  8. Jay K, Sundstrup E, Sondergaard SD, et al. Specific and cross over effects of massage for muscle soreness: randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2014; 9(1): 82.

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