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Risks outweigh reward of PE cuts

Our Opinion

Among the many difficult budget choices that Portland Public Schools must make, we are left wondering whether cutting physical education is truly the wisest move.

Confronted with a $19 million budget shortfall, the school district is considering a number of austerity measures - and the elimination of physical education at the elementary and middle school levels is just one among numerous painful reductions being proposed.

However, when you weigh the obvious need to encourage greater physical health among children against the savings that would be produced, our view is that abandoning PE would be shortsighted.

A quarter of children and adolescents in Oregon and throughout the nation are considered obese - a condition that puts them at extreme danger for lifelong health problems. Most tellingly, studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult.

Those years happen to be precisely the ones in question for PPS - the elementary and middle school period of education. Cutting PE likely would place even more Portland children at risk at a crucial time in their lives.