Why Is Physical Activity Important for Children?

Published on : 30 May 2018

Children who are inactive and who spend too much time in front of a screen watching television, playing computer video games or talking or typing on their phones have an increased risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Too much screen time may also adversely affect your child’s muscle and bone development, posture, neck alignment, eye function and overall self-esteem and confidence.

The American Heart Association recommends that children ages 2 years and older participate in at least 60 minutes (or at least two 30-minute periods or four 15-minute periods) of enjoyable, physical activity every day to improve cardiovascular fitness, physical wellness and emotional development.

Physical activity reduces stress and calms kids, making them happier and more attentive in the classroom. Physically fit children are also more likely to skip risky behaviors. Physical education (PE) is one of the best ways to battle both obesity, which affects 30% of all teens, and type 2 diabetes, which has increased in kids 21% since 2001. Obesity and diabetes threaten children's heart health—even while they're young—and place a huge economic burden on society.

Believe it or not, in the United States only 8% of elementary schools and 6% of middle schools and high schools provide daily PE for everyone, and 20% of elementary schools have abolished physical education altogether.

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