Sports and Children
We no longer live in a society where kids run around actively throughout the neighborhood. The sandlot baseball games, pick up games in the park, and innocence in the children are gone in sports. Today children are more interested in television, computers, and video games and parents are afraid of letting their children run around the streets because of kidnapping. Kids are simply no longer interested in physical activity. A poll of over a thousand parents and one with students was done and the results show they blame inactivity on lack of time and homework. Whatever the cause is, we can see results with studies throughout the last few years.
* 22% of children are physically active everyday of the week.
* 49% in grade 4-12 are moderately to vigorously active.
* 34% attend Physical Education classes daily.
* 23% don’t have these classes offered, because no all states have educational requirements for PE and some have budget cuts in the program.
* 54% of children ages 6-11 are obese, with the obesity rates till on the rise (Hellmich 1997).
There are a number of federal, state, and local school programs to help students reach fitness goals. The missing link in having physically fit children seems to be the parents. They are allowing children to remain sedentary with the television and computers. Not enough children have parents who monitor their child’s activity schedules, expose them to physical activity, and who serve as role models in being active themselves. Sports involvement and competition is very important in a child’s life, but sometimes can go too far. Physical activity offers both positive and negative aspects in a child’s life.
Physical activity is an integral part of the learning process at all grade levels/ Unfit children develop low opinions of themselves, dislike activity, and develop antisocial attitudes. Children need the physical and mental benefits of sports. Kids involved in sports will physically feel better about their bodies by being fit, they are less likely to have the risk of obesity later in life, and more likely to learn new skills (Krucoff 1998). Mentally, sports stimulate the intellectual development, sharpen motor skills, provide emotional and social growth, help with depression, and increase self-confidence. A non-active child that becomes active in a sport program find increased energy, longer attention span, improved self-esteem, and better communication skills (Sports Psychology). Students learn about their bodies and want to improve them to lead a fulfilling life. Overall most children in sports enjoy themselves because they are having fun and meeting new friends. Athletics allow these children to interact with children of the same age with this similar interest thereby improving their social skills for later in life. This experience in sports will serve as a positive model to follow when approaching other challenges and obstacles throughout life.