PE Requirement Isn't Enough To Fight Obesity

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Monday, June 15, 2009

In the fight against childhood obesity, getting kids moving is one of the most effective ways to combat the problem.

But only Massachusetts and Illinois require P.E. classes for all kids in kindergarten through 12th grade -- and even that is not keeping children and young adults from getting fat.

In Illinois, an estimated 20.7% of 10- to 17-year-olds are obese — the fourth-highest rate in the country, behind only Mississippi, Georgia and Kentucky.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that about one third of Americans ages 2 to 19 are overweight, and 17% are obese.

Health experts recommend 30 minutes of daily physical education for elementary school students, and 45 minutes for those in junior high and high school.

But in a recent CDC study, less than 4% of elementary schools, less than 8% of middle schools and just over 2% of high schools required daily P.E. for all students for the entire school year.

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