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Children’s fitness gets a report card you couldn’t bring home

If you ever received a report card like the one issued on the physical activity of U.S. youngsters last week, you simply wouldn’t bring it home. You’d throw it away, bury it somewhere, stick it in a drawer and hope your parents forgot that they hadn’t seen any grades for a while. When four “incompletes” are the best you can point to, it’s time to get ready for summer school.

Specifically, the assessment of kids’ physical activity included a B-, two C- grades, a D, a D-, an F and those four incompletes. Aside from the head-scratcher of deciding there wasn’t enough information to grade 40 percent of the categories their own committee developed, the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance and the American College of Sports Medicine delivered another well-researched critique of how little exercise our children get and why.

Some of the lowlights: A D- in “overall physical activity,” noting that just 24.8 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day; a D in “sedentary behaviors,” because kids ages 6 to 19 spend 424 waking minutes each day on their rear ends; an F in “active transportation,” which measured the proportion of kids who walk or bike to school (12.7 percent); and a C- in the share of kids who attend at least one physical education class each week (51.8 percent).

The panel decided it didn’t have enough information to assess how well the federal government, families and peers support physical activity, or the proportion of children who participate in daily, unstructured active play, among its other incompletes.

“We hope the report card will galvanize researchers, health professionals, community members and policy makers across the U.S. to improve our children’s physical activity opportunities, which will improve health, prevent disease and disability, and enhance quality of life,” said Peter Katzmarzyk, chairman of the 2014 report card research advisory committee.

Legacy Comments2

We have been fed a steady diet of fear by the media. Snowstorms now have names, if it rains, there is a chance of flooding, kids need to stay indoors because there are bad guys out there who will kidnap you. Schools need to do more, feed the kids, make sure they are physically fit, take care of their mental health, and when they are done with all those tasks, maybe they can teach. We are so over the excuses. If your kid is fat, do something about it. Sign them up for a rec league sport, stop serving them junk food. Stop blaming everybody else but yourselves for how you parent. I know plenty of folks who mange to have both parents work, their kids are in sports, and they manage to feed their kids decent meals.

The neighborhoods aren't safe for the kids to be outside on their own anymore in both the cities and the 'burbs. The schools have cut physical education, art, music, science, and social studies to make more time for math and reading so the kids can pass 'the test'. Parents are working away from home increased hours to make ends meet, so their kids need to be inside behind locked doors. The streets aren't safe to drive on, let alone walk or bike! And we need a STUDY to tell us the kids aren't getting enough physical activity? (sigh)

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