This is a sponsored campaign. All opinions are mine. As a teenager, I was active and fit. I was at a healthy weight. I was on the drill team, played volleyball and ran track. This is because we had Physical Education classes in school. For an hour each day, I was active. I loved it. Now, I am not as fit as I was. With my hectic schedule and working from home, I have not made my health a priority.
And I know this is a problem. Obesity and chronic disease runs in my family. My three brothers have/had diabetes. My oldest brother died of a heart attack when he was 60. I am considered obese and have high cholesterol and diabetes. I see my teen daughter struggle with her weight. Her doctor said she needs to lose 20-30 pounds.
Making Change As A Family
She did not always struggle with her weight either. In elementary school, she was active. She loved her P.E. class and looked forward to field day. There was no Physical Education class offered in middle or high school. Caitlin is in school all day and has after school activities or homework every day.
She has little time for exercise during the week. She gets some activity on the weekend, but it is not enough. Hence the weight gain. This is hard, but here’s the good news: seeing my daughter’s struggle has reminded of me of my own and it is motivating me to action. We have decided to begin a weight loss and fitness program together. It will be fun to have a partner to get healthy with!
Our kids must be active. They need to have P.E. in their schools. Many kids like Caitlin, are at risk for more than gaining weight from inactivity. As part of my job as a parent, I need to raise a healthy, active kid. I would love , Caitlin – and all kids — to have P.E. in school and it’s important to fight for it. And more immediately, we have joined a gym where we can work out before school and work.
Meanwhile, here are eight reasons your kid should be active every day:
- Kids who are active have improved school attendance and enhanced academic performance.
- Exercise helps kids maintain a healthy body weight.
- Physical activity builds strong, healthy muscles, bones and joints.
- Active children sleep better than children who are sedentary.
- Kids who exercise have better motor skills and coordination than kids who don’t.
- Active kids have better overall mental health. This means they are less likely to develop anxiety or depression.
- Kids who exercise have better self esteem and make better team players.
- Active kids have delayed or no chronic diseases as adult. These include those mentioned above (Heart disease, diabetes, obesity , and hypertension and high cholesterol.)
Kids Deserve Access To P.E. In Their School
As a parent, it infuriates me my child has no access to physical activity in school. Caitlin said the only exercise she gets is walking the short distance from class to class. If we aren’t advocates for our kids, who will be? Voices for Healthy Kids, that’s who! Voices for Healthy Kids is a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It is getting people talking about this issue. Their aim is to get people to take action about the need for quality physical education. This should be part of every child’s education.
Is Your Child Getting Their 60 Minutes?
Children should be getting a recommend 60 minutes of physical activity per day. We need to push for changes in our states and communities where we need change the most. Our country’s kids lack a Physical Education program in their school. A P.E. program positively impacts a child’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
Sadly, only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools provide daily PE or its equivalent for the entire school year. That is shocking! I am part of the 95% of parents who thinks PE should be part of the school curriculum for all students, in all grade levels. Part of the problem is many schools lack the resources due to racial inequalities and socio-economic challenges. I strongly agree that kids shouldn’t have to miss out on the benefits of PE because of where they live. So, what can we do to change this?
What Is The Every Student Succeeds Act?
There is a federal education law called the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act.) It says all states must develop a comprehensive plan to ensure all students receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education. As parents, teachers and community leaders, we can advocate for P.E. to be included in every state’s ESSA plans. This plan is different from previous federal education laws. The ESSA includes P.E. and health as part of a “well-rounded curriculum.” This means that for the first time ever, health and PE have access to significant federal funding! This is great news!
Our Children Need Advocates
BUT, including P.E. in ESSA is not a mandate. We need to advocate that our kids have daily P.E. as a core component in ESSA plans so that money can be accessed for P.E. If it is not included in the plan, it won’t have access to funding. We cannot allow this to happen! Do you know if your kids are getting enough PE? Even if your child’s school has a great PE program, what about other schools? Take a few minutes to learn how you can help to increase PE in your community.
Please consider protecting P.E. in our schools and join the PE Action Team? I did! Won’t you?