Physical Education Vs. Physical Activity

The statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are alarming. Today, about 16 percent of all children and teens in the United States are overweight. The two major causes of obesity are too much of the wrong foods and a lack of physical activity. Our children are falling way short of getting the 30-minute minimum of moderate physical activity a day. In fact according the The Journal of Pediatrics, Vol 146, No. 6, June 2005, children need 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

What can we do? We can get moving and get our children moving. It is important to understand the difference between the two terms “physical education” and “physical activity.” A quality physical education program offers the best opportunity to provide physical activity to all children and to teach them the skills and knowledge needed to establish and sustain a physically active lifestyle. We can make sure that schools provide a quality physical education program that promotes, through a variety of planned physical activities, each student’s optimum physical, mental, emotional and social development, and should promote activities and sports that all students enjoy and can pursue throughout their lives.

What is Quality Physical Education?

  • Elementary school: 150 minutes per week; 225 minutes per week for middle and high school. The class size should be equal to other subject classes, as recommended by the Michigan Department of Education.
  • Adequate equipment and facilitates for all students to be active at the same time.

The Results:

  • Improved overall quality of life
  • Reduce the risk of depression and effects of stress
  • Reduce risk of obesity, Type II Diabetes and heart disease
  • Improved academic performance