KidsHealth poll finds parents want mandatory gym

By Amy Cherry 9:21am, June 12, 2013 - Updated 2:19pm, June 12, 2013
WDEL's Amy Cherry talks with KidsHealth Medical Editor Dr. Mary Gavin.
Kids need to be more physically active and parents want it that way.

WDEL's Amy Cherry has more in this week's WDEL Delaware EducationWatch.

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99 percent of parents and teachers say they'd like to see mandatory gym class in school and that their schools aren't doing enough to promote health and wellness.

That's the findings of a new poll by KidsHealth at Nemours that surveyed more than 1,100 parents and educators.

"Most schools do not have daily physical education and many schools do not have health education or have minimal health education requirements," says pediatrician Dr. Mary Gavin.

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Gavin, who's also the medical editor for KidsHealth, says funding is the main issue.

"It's a matter of priorities. Academic requirements in school are pushing out things like physical education and health education," and music and the arts, adds Gavin.

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The recommendation is for kids to have at least one hour of physical activity a day -- and in most schools, gym is only two or three times a week, and much of that hour is spent changing or explaining the rules. Lack of physical education in schools is helping feed the obesity epidemic nationwide.

"If they're not doing anything in the school, it becomes very difficult for parents to get the kids out moving every day," Dr. Gavin says.

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Studies show students who are physically active do better in school. The survey didn't take into account how kids feel about gym class, but KidsHealth hopes to look at that next...

"When I ask kids what's their favorite subject, they typically say gym and recess," she says with a smile.

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