The average school year for students in grades K-12 consists of 180 days, with an average of 7 hours per day. Seven hours per day times the 180 days per school year totals to 1,260 hours per school year. The US Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) recommends that children and adolescents spend 60 minutes per day engaging in physical activity that are muscle and bone strengthening (The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), 2013). From the 1,260 hours that a child spends in their school setting, 180 of these hours are recommended for engagement in physical activity that strengthens the muscle and bone.
Because a child spends most of their time in a school setting, teachers and administrators are fundamental persons in the child’s life. Teachers are considered the second parents to children when they are not home. For this reason, they are responsible for setting examples outside of the home, as to what is expected of the child.
Unfortunately, the prevalence of childhood obesity is on the rise. Physical activity is essential to developing an overall healthy life for everyone, including school-aged children. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, physical activity is a determinant to building and maintaining bones and muscles, while also improving social and mental health status of the child. Physical activity in the lives of children has been proven to be effective in preventing childhood obesity and reducing the risks factors. Research evidence also indicates that physical activity can improve academic achievements in grades and standardized test scores.
Psychological research suggests that role modeling has an immense impact on the behavior of children. Since teachers and administrators have such a great impact on the lives of these children, it is essential that they promote healthy living in the environment where they are expressing ways to engage in physical activity, and the child is participating in the activity as well. Physical activity being implemented in schools will allow children to participate in the recommend 60 minutes that the USDHHS advises for improvement in muscle and bone strength. Activities such as brisk walking, jogging and jumping rope are all included in the types of activities that school-aged children may participate in. Any other activity that increases the child’s heart rate and respiration rate may also be included in the list of activities to incorporate in the 7-hour school day (AAHPERD).
Research Evidence #1
Aside from home, children spend majority of their time in their school setting. Therefore, schools have an advantage in instilling the need for physical activity in the daily lives of these children. According to Healthy People 2020 national objectives, schools have been targeted to increase the ratio of children who meet the physical activity engagement guidelines (AAHPERD). They have also been...