Physical inactivity is a leading cause of obesity and overweight, which currently affect more than 23 million children and adolescents—nearly one out of every three youths. Studies show that less than half of U.S. children and adolescents meet the Surgeon General’s recommendation for at least 60 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.
Schools are excellent venues to provide students with daily physical activity that encourages active, healthy lifestyles, yet many simply do not offer programs. In some cases, budget constraints or pressure to improve standardized test scores has prompted schools to reduce physical education and activity.
- Despite the continuing epidemic of childhood obesity, schools are cutting back on physical education (PE) and physical activity programs.
- Children who are physically active tend to perform better in school. Time spent on PE does not hinder academic performance.
- Physical activity is linked to other cognitive and behavioral benefits for students, such as improved concentration, better school attendance and fewer classroom disruptions.