We know that active play improves school performance, concentration, mood and behavior. We know that obesity in children in skyrocketing. HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson’s report, “Physical Activity Fundamental to Preventing Disease,” estimates that more than a quarter of a million Americans die each year as a result of a sedentary lifestyle.
Current recommendations for children are clear: an average of at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day. How much do children actually play at school?
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has monitored 3rd graders at 10 different study sites across the U.S. The astonishing results, published in the February 2003 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, should be a call to action. Children averaged only 25 minutes per week of MVPA at school — compared to a total of at least 420 minutes per week that children need.
We need to change our schools!
In the meantime, one of our most important jobs as parents is to get our kids moving. Active play is fun. It’s also fundamental to healthy minds and bodies.