According to the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association, physical education in school is an important part of a child’s lifelong health and well-being. Physical education programs promote healthy lifestyle choices and help prevent childhood obesity by incorporating daily activity into a child’s routine and exposing them to active interests. It is recommended that children receive at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
Currently not all schools require physical activity in their curriculums at all. Childhood obesity rates are rising rapidly, and public support is growing for physical activity. There are many benefits to school physical education programs.
- Exercise reduces body mass index, chances of diabetes, inflammation and cardiovascular systems. It also promotes mood and focus, and helps regulate sleep patterns.
- Recent studies show a strong correlation between physical fitness and academic performance.
- Physical activity has shown to have a positive impact on tobacco use, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
- Physically fit children tend to miss fewer school days.
- Physical activity improves circulation, increases blood flow to the brain, raises endorphin levels, and reduces stress.
- Physically fit children are also said to be less likely to get pregnant or attempt suicide.
- Heavy children are more likely to develop Type II diabetes.
PE games help children with interaction, collaboration, coordination and socialization. Providing children with a chance to make team choices, provide and accept feedback, and work towards a common goal are all fundamental parts of a functional adulthood.
The number of overweight children In the United States has tripled over the past 30 years, and much of this is due to the technological evolution of today’s world. Providing PE equipment gives children exposure and the opportunity to explore activities that they may not otherwise encounter outside of school. In the world of technology, a child is more likely to have a computer or video game technology than sports equipment. Sedentary activities outside of school hours have taken the place of outside activities, and this trend will most likely continue.
Physical education in a school curriculum is the best way to ensure today’s youth include physical activity in their daily regimen. As we grow into a more “plugged in” society, the opportunity for children to socialize in face-to-face encounters and explore sports and other active hobbies is becoming less and less common. The growing unpopularity of physical activities outside of the schools makes its ever more important to mandate their inclusion in a child’s educational curriculum.