Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School
We all want healthy kids, but many kids and adolescents in the United States have grown accustomed to a sedentary lifestyle. Currently, less than half of youth meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation of at least 60 minutes of daily vigorous to moderate-intensity physical activity, meaning that today, kids exercise less. Kids’ health risks are increased by a lack of physical activity, which can also jeopardize their well-being throughout their lives. Physical activity is also critical to kids’ cognitive development and academic success. The school environment is key in encouraging and providing opportunities for kids to be active. In this light, the IOM was asked to examine the status of physical activity and physical education efforts in schools, how physical activity and fitness affect health outcomes, and what can be done to help schools get kids to become more active—ultimately improving kids’ health.