As parents prepare to send their kids back to school, what’s their top concern about children’s health? For the first time, it’s a perceived lack of exercise.
For the sixth year in a row, the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital conducted a National Poll on Children’s Health. “Insufficient exercise” emerged as the number one parental concern, with 39 percent of parents ranking it in the top spot. Closely following with 37 percent? Childhood obesity.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day for both children and adolescents, physical education is not a federally required part of the school day and “only five states require PE for students every year from kindergarten through 12th grade.” As children get older and are expected to increase their academic focus, activity periods in school – like recess – drop off. And children already move less as they become tweens.
As more schools move to cut recess entirely, choosing to focus on test preparation, parents may have cause to worry. Investigators report, “While lack of exercise is certainly linked to the second most commonly identified concern—childhood obesity—exercise is a notable new top concern in the Poll’s annual top 10 list.” One in three of our children is either overweight or obese.
Do you worry that kids who may have enjoyed outdoor play during the summer will grow sedentary during the school year? Will you encourage your child to play a team sport? Check out some tips on getting kids moving from Get Kids in Action, and share some of your own.