Schools should increase kids' physical activity
Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies
The American Heart Association recently recommended that schools lead the way to ensure that all children and youth participate in adequate physical activity during the school day. The policy and specific practice recommendations were:
- Schools should ensure that all children and youth participate in a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during the school day, plus the option of extracurricular and school-linked community programs.
- Schools should deliver evidence-based health-related PE programs that meet national standards to students at all school levels. These programs should include moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 50 percent of class time, as well as teach students the motor and behavioral skills needed to engage in lifelong physical activity.
- States and school districts should ensure that PE is taught by certified and highly qualified PE teachers at all school levels. States should hold schools accountable for delivering PE programs that meet national standards for quality and quantity (i.e., age-appropriate amounts of time per week spent active during class). Each state should include physical education in its core curriculum and instructional quality.
- Schools should provide clubs, lessons, intramural sports and interscholastic sports programs that meet the physical activity needs and interests of all students. Schools should promote walking and bicycling to school.
- School leaders should work with local government to ensure safe routes to school.
- Child development centers and elementary schools should provide children with at least 30 minutes of recess each day.
- Schools should provide evidence-based health education programs emphasizing behavioral skills focused on increasing physical activity and decreasing sedentary behaviors.
- Colleges and universities should provide programs that produce teachers who are highly qualified to deliver evidence-based physical education and health education programs.
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