One new educational trend in America is to start replacing art, music, P.E., and recess with more blocks of reading, writing, and math. In my opinion, dedicating more time to reading and writing is essential, especially for children under 10 years old. However, I never want to see recess and P.E. cut from the day when so many children are becoming obese before they reach middle school.
Obesity itself is hard on the joints and muscles, but it also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. If children under the age of 10 are just as likely as an obese adult is to develop CVD later in life, something is terribly wrong. A study published in the open access journal BMC Medicine reports that new guidelines for exercise will dramatically reduce the risk of children becoming obese and becoming more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease when they are older.
Though it’s no surprise that regular exercise will help prevent CVD and obesity, many parents aren’t sure how much exercise is healthy. Does that mean over an hour of recess every day and P.E. a couple times a week, or does it mean more? BMC Medicine says that 60 to 85 minutes of physical activity is recommended per day, including 20 minutes of vigorous activity. If children are not getting this at school, they should be getting it after school which is often when homework, chores, and free activity time is done as well.
Author of the study, Jiménez-Pavón, and his colleagues were the first to look at the relationship between physical activity and cardiovascular disease in children 9 years old and younger. They examined blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and skinfold thickness for their research and discovered that 15% of the children in the study were at risk of CDV in the future based on their current cardiovascular health.
In order to get the necessary requirements for physical activity, the last thing children need is to spend more time indoors during school. However, since I can’t change the recess schedule for every school in the U.S., other alternatives include having your kids join a sports team either at their school or in your community. Encourage family exercising or even offer health incentives for your children to be active. They will thank you later in life when they have absolutely no risk of CVD and lead healthy, active lives.
Source: BioMed Central Limited (2013, July 29). New guidelines for exercise in children. ScienceDaily.