Advocating for Physical Activity and Education
Sedentary lifestyles contribute greatly to the burden of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes. In fact, scientific evidence clearly shows a link between regular physical activity and long-term health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and many other diseases.
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its first physical activity recommendations. The guidelines recommend that adults get two and a half hours of moderate exercise every week to help reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
The report also concludes that children who are physically active for at least one hour or more each day gain substantial health benefits. However, while children spend a great deal of time in school, very few schools actually require daily physical education for students. Currently, only 3.9 percent of elementary; 7.9 percent of middle school; and 2.1 percent of high schools provide daily physical education throughout the school year. Without physical education in our schools, students are increasingly inactive.
Our children are not being taught the importance of regular physical activity and they are certainly not being conditioned to live a more active lifestyle. Instilling these healthy lifestyle behaviors in our children can go a long way toward improving modifiable risk factors and quality of life.
The Fitness Integrated in Teaching (FIT) Kids Act (H.R. 2178/S, 1033) encourages schools to offer high quality physical education to help us turn around these alarming trends.