With proper education on the importance of regular exercise, healthy children are on the right track to becoming healthy adults. Nonetheless, numerous reports cite drastic cuts being made to Physical Education (P.E.) classes across the United States. A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (Feb, 2013) funded by the non-profit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation re-emphasizes the common notion that this is a significant mistake. In the article, researchers report that daily P.E. classes would go a long way in helping children meet U.S. recommendations for physical activity (PA) as it would increase all schoolchildren’s daily activity by approximately 23 minutes. This duration may not seem that significant, but it would actually fulfill more than one-third of the total daily amount of exercise recommended by experts. "This study shows that policy-makers have a lot of tools at their disposal to help kids be active," study lead author David Bassett, professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, said in a foundation news release. "But it also shows that no change alone will be enough. Helping young people reach activity goals will require a combination of strategies." The U.S. government's Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans issued in 2008 recommend that young people be active for at least 60 minutes every day. However, research published that same year showed only 42% of children between 6-11 years of age and 8% of teens met that requirement. The research team examined 85 studies that used objective assessments of PA to project how certain policy changes would affect the amount of exercise children get each day. A total of nine different types of requirements in both schools and the community were analyzed. The researchers then estimated how many minutes of PA each policy would add to a child's day.
In an effort to make the general public fully understand the issues stalling progress for P.E. in the United States, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recently published an eye-catching and easy-to-understand infographic on the disconcerting state of P.E. in schools. It is hoped that circulation of the infographic will play a beneficial part in fostering a generation of healthy children and adults by changing how important the country deems P.E. classes to be. The infographic can be accessed on NASPE’s website.
Here are a few alarming statistics presented on the NASPE infographic: