Does increased physical education prevent obesity in children

We continue our look at Trust for America’s Health list of ways to prevent obesity in the United States.

Today we look at:

Increasing the amount and quality of physical education and activity in schools and childcare programs

Increasing access to safe, accessible places for physical activity in communities. Examples include creating and maintaining parks, sidewalks and bike lanes and providing incentives for smart growth designs that make communities more livable and walkable


They have a very good point concerning physical education in schools. As school districts have cut back on budgets, one of the first classes to go is physical education.

If you do a simple search you can see many local schools decide to reduce or eliminate their physical education classes.  The National Association for Sport and Physical Educators even have a section on their forums dealing with the cutbacks.

Physical education program do help combat obesity and provide children a way to learn to enjoy being active.


The second point, access to places for physical activity, is a stretch. A big one. Most communities have space set aside already for places where activities can take place. These could be:

  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Front and backyards
  • Open areas

Making areas more livable and walkable is interesting, but over inflated. The big emphasis should be on not providing more space, but using the space that’s available.  How many times do you pass a school during the summer and see kids playing on the fields? Hardly ever. Video games and computers have become the defacto standard fallback for kid’s activities.

One area to look into is indoor swimming areas. You can make a waterpark enjoyable, but also full of exercise.