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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The ABC's of a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program:
A Back to School Assignment for Parents
RESTON, VA, July 13, 2011 -- As summer comes to an end, many students are gearing for the upcoming school year with a list of to do's to check off from buying clothes to finding the right supplies to double checking their class schedules. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) is giving parents a back to school assignment as well. NASPE wants every parent to ensure their children's success and well-being by making sure schools provide a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program, or CSPAP. "Every parent has an important role to play in helping our youth become active and in making physical education and physical activity a reality in their local school," said NASPE President Dennis Docheff, professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO.
"Schools are powerful places for cultivating physically active, friendly environments which will help in affecting academic performance and overall positive results."
While NASPE recommends that children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, a new survey by the Kaiser Foundation finds children spend an average of eight hours a day glued to the TV and playing video games; ultimately less time being active. In addition, parents often find it easier to choose the quick option of fast food or a frozen meal rather than cooking healthier meals. This combination of lack of inadequate physical activity and poor nutrition has led to what has become the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.
NASPE's Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program, which includes physical education, physical activity before, during, and after school, staff involvement, and family and community involvement, provides a setting for encouraging children to get the recommended amount of physical activity throughout the day.
A foundation of Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs, physical education can contribute to students' regular participation in physical activity and should include:
Physical Activity During School
In addition to physical education class, students need opportunities to be physically active throughout the school day in order to meet the 60 minutes per day national recommendation. Children need a break from sitting behind their desks; these extra opportunities to be physically active have shown to increase a child's academic achievements. Learn about the positive impact of school-based physical education and physical activity on academic performance in NASPE's Active Kids and Academic Performance brochure.
Physical Activity Before and After School
Physical activity before and after school allow students to practice what they've learned in physical education class. It can also prepare their brains for learning and provide a safe and healthy environment for social interaction with their friends. Some options include:
High level support from school administrators is a key factor in implementing a CSPAP. Staff involvement in school-based physical activity provides two key benefits:
Family and Community Involvement
Support from parents and siblings, and even an entire community, can influence a child's level of participation in physical activity. Keeping children and youth turned on to physical activity is also one of the biggest challenges facing parents. That is why NASPE urges parents to help children explore a wide variety of physical activities in their communities to determine what they like and then encourage them to participate in those activities on a regular basis. Families can support their child's school CSPAP by:
To learn more about how you can help your school to create a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program, go to Let's Move in School. The goal of Let's Move in School, an initiative of NASPE and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), is to help children and youth to develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime.