We Need More Physical Education in Schools

Dr. Thom McKenzie explains why it's so important for children to have quality Physical Education in school. Support this issue in your community by sharing this video with your child's teachers, school board members and administrators.


-P. E. is the only time in school we get to be active, learn to move, and get fit. We used to have P.E. everyday. And now, we have it only once a week, if at all. -I know you want us to study, but we need to move too. When we sit too much, we can't concentrate. -Adult should remember that we are kids and that too much sitting isn't healthy. If we were more active, we would learn better. -We need more P.E. -Hi, I'm Dr. Tom McKenzie. Physical Education is a main source of physical activity for children during the school day. Parents and other adults including teachers and school board members play an important roles in ensuring that children have regular access to Physical Education and that children get enough physical activity. Here are some facts: Health authorities recommend children get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily whilst children do not get enough. Sedentary living is one of the most challenging public health problems. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death. And sedentary children are at risk for overweight, obesity, and other chronic diseases. Meanwhile, children are in school for over 6 hours a day 9 months a year for 13 years and most of this time they are forced to sit. Researchers showing that Physical Education programs are essential in helping children accrue physical activity minutes. Physical Education promotes health, active lifestyles, and increases physical fitness and teaches important movement and behavioral skills. There is also growing evidence that physical activity helps children be attentive during class and improve academically. The national association for sport and Physical Education, NASBI, recommends elementary school students receive at least 150 minutes of Physical Education weekly and that secondary school students receive 225 minutes. The majority of students do not receive this. Various quality Physical Education include inadequate schedules, limited equipment and space, and lack of certified Physical Education teachers. Many programs do not have a specific curriculum and very few are evaluated regularly. Barriers such as these keep Physical Education from playing a major role in promoting physical activity and contributing to academic goals. Large-scale studies have produced evidence-based physical education programs, and these are available for adoption. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Partnership for Prevention have identified some of these programs, which include SPARK, CATCH, and Planet Health. So, what can caring adults do? First, see if the minutes allocated for Physical Education at school reach national standards. Second, determine if the existing Physical Education program is a quality one. It should provide lots of time for physical activity, physical fitness, and skill development and promote activity outside of class. Third, determine of the program uses an activity-based curriculum. If it does not, advocate for an evidence-based program. Fourth, advocate for an annual review of the Physical Education program. Fifth, advocate for physical activity throughout the school day including Physical Education, recess, and active transport for school.

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