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Are We Crazy? Reducing PE in Schools Hurts Kids And Every One Of Us

Date: 1/2/18

The latest change in the laws reducing physical education requirements for kids in our schools does not make sense. It not only hurts kids today but everyone in Illinois will pay for this.

Don’t our legislators realize sitting is the new smoking. Physical inactivity is a bigger killer than smoking and, get this, it kills more people that being overweight or obese combined. Our kids are so soft that in a recent study, US kids were ranked 47th out of 50 countries in children’s fitness.

So, how will the change reducing the amount of physical education in our schools affect us?  Let me describe 4 big ways:

1.      Kids who do not have PE are 2-3 times less likely to be active outside of school.  Check out the conclusive research on PHITAmerica.org. PHIT America, a national charity and campaign to get America moving, has been studying the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ for years. Less active kids are much more likely to be prone to sickness, disease and other physical and mental conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure. And, how many kids are on ADHD drugs because they are so inactive?

2.      Adults are impacted too. You say, how?  Research is again conclusive adults who did not have PE in school are twice as likely to be totally sedentary as adults. Here are the numbers. 19% of all adults who had PE in school are sedentary. But, if someone had no PE, the sedentary percentage jumps to 39%!  And, by the way, approximately 48% of high schools in America have no PE today. Do we want Illinois to be part of this issue?

3.      We will all pay for this. When kids (and adults) get inactive, healthcare cost go up. And, we know, many of these costs are shared by our society. Our healthcare system is really a

‘sickcare’ system. We treat people who are sick with better pills, procedures, and ‘sickcare’ plans. The only way to control healthcare costs is through prevention. And, increased physical activity is the best form of prevention. Healthy people need less ‘sickcare’.

4.      Kids will do worse academically with less PE.  Yes, that is right. More active kids definitely do better academically. Just look at the information here on the PHIT America website. Fluid intelligence and actual school grades improve with physical activity and fitness.  As John Ratey, MD at Harvard Medical School says, “Exercise is Miracle-Gro For The Brain.” Illinois must get kids more active not less active.

Our society has become so sedentary. The only thing kids are moving today is their fingers…managing their electronic devises. Illinois legislators are making this worse.  We may feel like this is the right thing to do but it is totally wrong for the reasons above.

If you want an expert’s view on this, just ask Thomas Frieden, Director of the Center For Disease Control. This is what he says about the topic. Physical activity is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug.” 

It’s time to stop this legislation. We should be putting more physical activity in the lives of children not the opposite.

Founded in January 2013, PHIT America (www.phitamerica.org) is a non-profit campaign focused on overcoming the severe ramifications of the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ through three strategic approaches – education, supporting school-based activity programs, and advocating – which will get Americans, especially our youth, more active, fit and healthy. For more information about PHIT America, visit www.PHITAmerica.org.

PHIT America, 962 Wayne Ave, Suite 300, Silver Spring, MD 20910. P: 301.495.6321 F: 301.495.6322

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