Nine million American students are packing on too many pounds, but just as kids are being told to exercise more, they're finding fewer opportunities to break a sweat during the school day.
Teachers have now found a free program to help move the scales in the right direction.
The physical education classes of old are disappearing now.
"Unfortunately with budget cuts our P.E. instruction time has been cut," Kindergarten and First Grade Teacher Tiffany McGinley says.
Only six states require the recommended 150 minutes of elementary P.E. a week and just three states have 20 minutes of mandatory recess a day.
At a school for autistic children, there's one P.E. Teacher for all 160 students. This is helping the kids stay active.
Adventure to Fitness is a free interactive workout for kids. It exercises students' bodies and minds.
They are adventures that get the kids running, hopping, squatting and leaping for 30 minutes straight.
Mister Marc leads adventures for 60,000 teachers in 11,000 schools.
"We're never telling our adventurers, is what we call them, to do a jumping jack, but there is always a reason behind why you might do jumping jacks in one of the episodes,” Adventure Leader Marc Loyd explains. “It's because you're cold and you’re down in a cavern so you need to do jumping jacks in order to get warm."
Luis Hernandez is the lone gym teacher for 800 kids. He says the program is making a difference.
"The kids are more active, they're more willing to exercise and do things they wouldn't try before," P.E. Teacher Luis Hernandez says.
"It gives me good exercise," says First Grader Valeria Hernandez.
There's only one rule. Besides losing gym classes, kids are giving up on sports and playing outside.
According to the CDC, more than 60-percent of kids, ages nine to 13, do not participate in sports. Worse yet, 23-percent don't engage in any free time physical activity at all.
Adventure to Fitness has a home version to get kids moving at night, on the weekends, and over the summer.
It's $30 for three 30 minute episodes. You can find out more at adventuretofitness.com.
Adventure to Fitness: Keeping School Kids Active
KIDS AND EXERCISE: To reap the most benefits from exercise, it is recommended
that children between the ages of six and 17 have at least one hour of moderate
exercise a day. This physical activity can be activities as simple as riding a
bike or playing tag with friends. Doing bone-strengthening activities like
jumping rope or running is especially important for kids, because they gain the
largest amount of bone mass in the years before puberty. Overall, children
receiving enough physical activity have stronger bones and muscles; higher
levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, and lower body fatness. Daily physical
activity also sets up children to be healthier adults with a reduced risk for
health problems like type-2 diabetes. (Source: www.health.gov
RECESS: Exercise is especially important for children's health and can improve
their time spent at school. A study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine
in New York found that if children have as little as 15 minutes of recess a day
they will actually behave better while in class. Physical activity for even a
small amount of time during the day allows children to take a break from their
lessons to rest and re-energize their brains. Furthermore, 42% of kids in the
United States receive most of their daily exercise during recess according to a
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study. Unfortunately, many schools, an
estimated 40%, have cut their recess programs due to either lack of funding,
time, or supervision. (Source: www.cnn.com
EXERCISE RESOURCES: Common activities for children have changed in the past few
decades from playing outside or riding bikes to spending most of their free
time in front of the television or computer screen. One way parents can fight
off this sedentary lifestyle is through exercise videos like Adventure to
Fitness. Websites like Nick Jr., offers new games for kids to try at home and
it even has printable game equipment. There are many steps that can be taken to
ensure your child's health; and even simple encouragement to spend time
outside can go a long way. (Source: www.livestrong.com
For More Information, Contact:
Vice President, School Relations
Adventure to Fitness