The Importance of Exercise for Children

Joseph is a very busy 8-year-old boy. In the fall, he plays on a roller hockey team. He practices every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and has a roller hockey game every Sunday morning. In the winter, Joseph plays basketball. His team practices one evening a week. They have a basketball game every Saturday morning. In the spring and summer, Joseph plays baseball. His team has a game twice a week and practices at least once. It is easy to see that Joseph is very active after school.

In contrast, while most American children are school, they have a physical education class just once a week for 45 minutes. Boys and f girls from kindergarten to grade 12 do not have to have a physical education class in school every day. They do not have to exercise. ? Not all American children are as active in sports after school as Joseph is. Therefore, these boys and girls need to exercise in school. Many people believe that the fitness and health of American children are in trouble. In fact, forty percent of children age 5 to 8 may be unhealthy already. For example, many have high blood pressure, are overweight, or have high cholesterol. Doctors believe that these conditions are the result of physical inactivity and poor diet. Not all American children are as active in sports after school as Joseph is.

In many countries in the world, all schoolchildren have to do one hour of exercise every day. These exercises do not have to be team sports. They may be simple, such as running, jumping, or climbing ropes. Doctors believe that habits learned early are more likely to stay with us through life. School is the perfect place to learn these habits, or practices. Active, healthy children who exercise regularly can become active, healthy adults.