A just-released national report confirms what we’ve been saying all along: Kids aren’t getting enough exercise. Issued yesterday by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NAPSE) and the American Heart Association, the report reveals embarrassing inadequacies in state physical education requirements. For elementary, middle, and high schools, respectively, only two, one, and three states (plus DC) meet NAPSE’s recommendations for the amount of time students should spend in PE each week. Twelve states allow students to receive PE credit for coursework done online.
We hope it’s not necessary to bring up, but here’s the latest piece of research on how childhood inactivity promotes obesity later in life. Set it on top of the tall, tall, tall pile of literature saying the same thing. It’s especially useful to set the NAPSE’s new report alongside the various scientific findings which reveal that caloric intake among the young has not increased in the last several years, while physical activity has dropped like a stone.
With sloth running rampant (sitting rampant?) in our nation’s schools, we hope that more will follow the examples we’ve found recently. Schools in Maryland, for example, are starting to send home “fitness report cards” (containing valuable fitness evaluations, and not the useless BMI) to parents, the Annapolis Capital reports. In Seattle, Bailey Gatzert Elementary has created a “Walking School Bus” program to get kids to school in safety and in health. Organizer Jen Cole told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
It’s amazing — people do not walk to school in the numbers they used to … the large majority of kids are driven or bused to school. Consequently, children in this generation have lost what used to be a very reliable source of moderate daily exercise.