It is no accident that kids in the U.S. are getting more obese as physical education classes are being cut. The CDC has declared obesity an epidemic among children, and obesity-related diseases once seen almost exclusively in adults, like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, are increasingly being diagnosed in adolescents.
Last fall, the Atlanta School Board did away with physical education requirements for its schools in order to implement state-mandated academic reforms. A school-board member was quoted as saying the action was taken because kids in school need to be doing more serious things than playing.
“That is ridiculous to me, but, unfortunately there are a lot of people sitting on school boards who just don’t get it,” says Anne Flannery of the physical education advocacy group P.E.4Life. “These days, anything that isn’t tested isn’t valued, and schools are feeling the pressure to do away with programs that can’t be measured on a standardized test. But there is a growing body of research that shows physical exercise to be sort of a Miracle-Gro for the brain. Movement fosters brain development and growth, and physical activity prepares children to learn.”
Moral of the story = Learning through movement promotes increased brain activity. P.E. is beneficial to learning!!