US students compare systems

Taieri Beach School pupil Hannah Jaquiery (6) shows students from High Point University, North...
Taieri Beach School pupil Hannah Jaquiery (6) shows students from High Point University, North Carolina, the Sports Activate programme in action. Photo by Gregor Richardson
For a change yesterday, pupils at Taieri Beach School turned the tables on usual education practices.

Instead of teachers teaching the pupils, the pupils shared some of their knowledge with students from High Point University, in North Carolina.

About 20 health and physical education students from the North American university are in Dunedin to examine the health of young New Zealanders and compare it with the health of young Americans.

High Point University health and physical education associate professor Martie Bell said since they arrived on Tuesday, they had already found New Zealand pupils had more access to exercise and activity than children in the United States.

American schools dedicated about one hour of activity a week as part of the education curriculum.

However, New Zealand schools provided at least 20 minutes a day.

''We've noticed how many people go out running in New Zealand, even when it's raining outside,'' Dr Bell said.

''We've also noted a lot of children on skateboards and scooters.''

She also praised the Dunedin City Council for establishing dedicated cycle lanes around the city.

Taieri Beach School pupils spent an hour yesterday demonstrating the Sports Activate programme with Sport Clutha co-ordinator Mitch McRae, of Balclutha, so the American students could study one of New Zealand's more popular physical education programmes in action.

Following that, the students and Taieri Beach School staff discussed methods of physical education used in other countries such as Austria and Singapore.

Today, the group will visit Kavanagh College and tomorrow they will watch the Highlanders play the Lions at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

During their Dunedin visit, they will also visit takeaways and restaurants to compare the nutritional content of their food.

Dr Bell said the group had found American families - especially those in lower socio-economic situations - were overweight because they were using their limited government subsidies to buy high-fat food, which was less expensive than fresh and healthy food.

The group will go to Auckland on Tuesday, where it will continue its research.



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