With obesity and diabetes rates in American children on the
rise, parents are more concerned than ever about their children's
fitness levels. Poor habits in children can lead to the development
of chronic diseases in adulthood; children active in sports
or other physical activities are also less likely to engage
in risky behaviors. Current recommendations are for children
to perform at least an hour of physical activity every day,
and that at least 50% of physical education (PE) classes consist
of moderate-to-vigorous activity.
To evaluate the activity levels of third-graders in PE classes,
more than 800 kids from a wide range of socioeconomic and
cultural backgrounds at hundreds of elementary schools across
the U.S. were individually observed for one day. Researchers
amount of PE class time children spent sitting, standing,
walking, performing vigorous exercise, etc., and how many
PE classes the school mandated children take each week.
On average, the 9-year-olds only took two PE classes per
week, instead of the recommended five; only 6% of these children
had PE every weekday. While in PE class, the third-graders
averaged merely five minutes of vigorous activity and 12 minutes
of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per session (25
minutes per week) - far short of the recommended levels.
Make sure your child isn't sitting through physical education
hour. If he or she is not getting enough exercise at school,
encourage physical activities at home. Learning sports and
being active at a young age allows kids to develop coordination,
muscle and skeletal strength, and good life habits, and best
of all - to have fun!
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development Network. Frequency
and intensity of activity of third-grade children in physical
education. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
2003:157(2), pp. 185-190.
For more information about pediatric issues, go to http://www.chiroweb.com/find/archives/pediatrics.