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Insist on Fitness for Kids

Insist on Fitness for Kids

All Roads Lead to Rome is a Sarah Jessica Parker movie that led to nowhere (Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 3.5 out of 10). But it’s also a proverb meaning many paths can get you to the same place. And that’s surely true when you look at two recent studies on kids and exercise. They both conclude the path we’re on takes American kids away from physical activity and that’s not a place we want them to be!

The 2016 Shape of the Nation report sounds an alarm about physical education in schools. Despite the fact solid research demonstrates exercise improves academic performance, helps fight obesity and is essential for a mentally-focused child, more than 60 percent of states allow kids to opt out of physical activity or swap PE for something else! Only Oregon and Washington D.C. meet national recommendations for weekly PE time for grades 1 through 9!

The second study, from Tufts University School of Medicine, points out overall only about 15 percent of kids (8 percent of girls) get the recommended moderately vigorous 60 minutes of physical activity daily, and a paltry 8 percent (2 percent for girls) get the recommended 30 minutes while in school.  

With over 30 percent of children overweight or obese, both studies say that’s gotta change. So sound the alarm at your kids’ schools -- insist on recess and PE. And at home engage your kids daily in family activities (walks, hiking, swimming) and encourage organized sports. Their success at school and in life depends on it.

Medically reviewed in August 2018.

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