“Let them play”: Parents want kids to have more physical activity at school

With more and more attention being given to fighting childhood obesity, adults across the country are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of physical activity for kids. In this year’s NPCH Report of the top 10 health issues facing kids in the U.S., ‘not enough exercise’ was the number one concern. Children spend a large amount of their day at school, so it’s important for them to have enough physical activity during the school day.

In a poll in 2011, we asked parents of elementary school-aged children what they think about the amount of physical activity their child gets at school. While most parents (94%) agreed that it is important for kids to get physical activity during the school day, one third of parents said their kids do not get enough physical activity at school. Read the full report: Gym gone but not forgotten? Parents want more physical activity at school for kids.

Parents also rated specific times and places in the school day where children normally get physical activity:

  • 35% said their child has too little time in gym class.
  • 26% said there is not enough playground equipment at their child’s school.
  • 22% said there is too little time for recess.

It’s important for kids to have physical activity during the school day – not just for preventing obesity, but also for encouraging healthy physical development. Academic achievement requirements and budget challenges have forced many schools to reduce the time children spend in gym and at recess, but this poll shows parents are unsatisfied.