No Recess?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children engage in 60 or more minutes of physical activity every day. With a good majority of their day being spent at school, elementary level kids should be able to earn some of those active minutes at school, right?

A recent post from the Chicago Tribune says that isn’t the case. Many Chicago schools have cut back or cut out recess and often PE class from their schedules. The article informs readers of the obstacle-filled journey of pro-recess supporters to change the Chicago Public School policy from one that “encourages schools to have recess” to one that requires it.

Charles Hillman, a professor and researcher from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is also highlighted in the article. He has found that physically active students “show improvement in memory, attention span and performance on academic achievement tests” compared to their inactive counterparts. Hillman gives us some concrete data to use in the fight against the childhood overweight and obesity epidemic that is prevalent across our nation.

Along with our many partners, Active Transportation Alliance is leading that fight against obesity by encouraging healthy and active lifestyles through numerous programs and services. We have successfully implemented several different Walk Across Illinois programs that increase children’s physical activity and teach them about bicycle and pedestrian safety. Our Safe Routes to School work also helps to make it possible for students to walk and bike to school using those safety skills.

Check out the Chicago Tribune article here, and contact to find out what programs Active Transportation Alliance has created to fight childhood inactivity.


Increasing exercise time is indeed needed

Schools got to increase the PE time to 1 hour, and should provide after-school activities and some optional activities in weekends. Not only this will help combat obesity but it will also increase the social and other skills for the students. But now unfortunately our kids go to school and gain weight from those cafeteria foods and get no exercising in return that should burn those calories you get from school foods.
But CDC is known for its great obesity prevention programs across states to limit student’s weight gain or at least make the weight gain healthy and not from saturated fats and processed sugars.

I moved to the reply section

I moved to the reply section below the original comment. Thx.

cutting PE class is just fine

cutting PE class is just fine with me - i know several people whose class rank was ruined (ruined is relative - in this case i mean they were bounced out of the top 5% or so) because of a couple of Bs in PE class. if i were in HS again, i'd be pissed off about my academic worth being partly dependent on how many free throws i could hit in a minute.

 I can certainly relate: a

 I can certainly relate: a graded PE class doesn't fit into the rest of the academic evaluation system, especially in high school and at an age where one's physical talents can't be so pigeon-holed.

I want to clarify that younger kids simply aren't getting enough exercise. Yes, it would be obvious to say that is their parents' responsibility. But consider that most children are driven to school (again, not as much of a choice as you would think), where they sit at their desks all day before are then driven home where they stay inside for dinner and homework.

It's no wonder that childhood obesity has tripled over the last 30 years. Type 2 diabetes primary cause is obesity, and 1 in 3 people born after the year 2000 will develop it. Consider the cost implications of this. The average diabetes patient incurs more than $6000 in additional annual healthcare costs. That's $400,000 over a lifetime removed from the bottomline of healthcare providers and employers.

That is a real drain on productivity and profitability, not to mention a major national security issue. If one and three Americans will develop type 2 diabetes, how will we staff our military, our fire and police forces?

This is why Active Trans' mission is so important - in addition to the work Stacey is doing to bring physical activity back to schools, we advocate for complete streets legislation and push for transit-oriented development, which help make it safer and much more practical for kids to walk and ride their bike to school.

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