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Idaho Children Deserve Quality Physical Education

 

Guest Blogger: Erin Bennett, Idaho Government Relations Director

Physical education is crucial to our children’s health. Research has shown that a high quality physical education program can not only reduce the rates of childhood obesity and associated chronic diseases, but can also help children develop interest in physical activities that carries throughout their lifetime. Unfortunately, during tight financial times, many schools look to physical education as one of the first programs to cut in order to save money. But we know this is a mistake, as the benefit of physical education is more than just improved health.

Studies show that physical activity also benefits children (as well as adults!) by elevating brain activity, increasing attention span and ability to focus which can lead to improved academic performance, and reduced disciplinary problems in the classroom. The effects of a high quality physical education program extend well beyond the gym, which is why the AHA/ASA supports quality PE in schools.

Many Idaho schools have struggled to sustain their PE programs, and during the 2016 Legislative Session, the AHA/ ASA will be working to ensure every child has access to a high quality physical education, which includes a minimum number of minutes for moderate to vigorous activity as well as certified instructors. We will also work with each and every legislator to help them understand how PE benefits children now, through improved academic performance, as well as in the future long term health improvements and cost savings.

We will also continue our work with the Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the SHAPE Idaho organization, and many other community partners to help strengthen support for every school to have a high quality PE program. We know the results of Physical Education will help students academically, as well as establishing lifelong healthy habits that allow active kids to become active adults.

Please contact me at Erin.bennett@heart.org if PE in schools matters to you. We need your help!

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