Second in a series on physical education …

By Ken Reed

Over 95% of our children and youth are in school. It’s the one place where we can reach nearly all our children, including those most at risk, with the critical lifetime health and wellness messages that are part of quality physical education programs.

It is important to understand that P.E. not only gets kids in better shape, it enhances their academic performance. Students achieve best when they are physically fit. Fighting for quality physical education isn’t just about improving our kids’ fitness levels and attacking the childhood obesity epidemic in this country. It’s also about enhancing brain function and improving performance in core academic subjects. It’s not an either/or choice between strong academics and PE. There is a strong correlation between exercise and academic performance.

To get where we need to be — a nation of healthy, active children — we’re going to need a surge in parental involvement. It’s parents that ultimately determine what will be taught – and how often — in their kids’ schools. Parents must become strong advocates for quality, daily physical education in their school system. First, they must examine the situation in their schools. What’s the quantity and quality of PE? For example, are certified physical education professionals teaching PE? Is the emphasis on lifetime physical activities and sports vs. team sports? Is technology, like heart rate monitors and pedometers, being utilized?

The bottom line is, we are in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic in the United States. Astonishingly, in the midst of this crisis, schools around the country have been steadily reducing the number of physical education classes offered. It’s a recipe for disaster. P.E. is becoming an endangered species.

It’s a trend we need to reverse.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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