Part One: Parents and Teachers Weigh In
An overwhelming majority of parents and teachers want health and physical education to be a mandatory part of the school day, according to a KidsHealth online survey taken by 1,173 parents and K-12 educators.
The problem is that a significant number of schools don’t offer health classes. And many schools that do have health and PE classes are not devoting enough time to the subjects or teaching them effectively, according to the survey.
Schools can play an important role in countering the obesity epidemic among U.S. youth. Research shows many parents don’t realize their children are overweight. And the average U.S. kid or teen spends more time in front of a computer, TV, cell phone, and video game screen each week than in school. Daily PE classes that get kids moving and health classes that explain how to choose nutritious foods and appropriate portion sizes can help kids make healthier choices. Studies show that kids who are physically active do better in school.
Most parents and educators in the survey agree. Nearly every educator (99%) said all students should be required to take PE classes, and the same number said middle school and high school students should be required to take health classes. Slightly fewer educators (93%) said elementary kids should be required to take health classes.
About 87% of parents said middle and high school students should be required to take health and PE; 78% said elementary students should be required to take health classes; and 92% said elementary students should be required to take PE classes.