Todays’ children text and watch TV an average of thirty hours a week. Their body’s motors are running in idle, seldom shifting into second gear and rarely reaching overdrive. Minimal Physical Fitness is defined here as having the strength, flexibility and other fitness components to stand up against gravity and perform tasks of daily living without having sufficient stamina reserve for leisure, family and recreational activities. Maximum physical fitness includes having sufficient stamina reserve for leisure, family and recreational activities. We have tests that can measure the physical fitness levels for both definitions. The greater percentage of our children in elementary school may fail to reach an acceptable health fitness level. If that doesn’t alarm you, it should.
The majority of our elementary school children are only moving enough to sit, stand, walk and occasionally run at home and school. Over ninety percent of elementary schools don’t have physical education programs, and those that do only promote exercise less than five minutes at an aerobic level. Children with bodies that are not fit are already showing early signs and symptoms of chronic diseases in elementary school. These chronic diseases will eventually account for over eighty percent of the national health care expenses. An unfit person is 3-4 times more likely to die early of all diseases than one with high physical fitness levels. We can reduce national health costs by up to 1.5 trillion dollars a year by developing physical fitness early in elementary school. That’s a fifty percent reduction of total yearly health care cost.
These fitness failures are due to lack of motion, chronic inactivity, and sedentary life style as a result of rapid transportation, gadgets and the information age, not obesity.
The child obesity problem appeared later toward the 1990s. Not many kids in my physical education classes were overweight. It’s about lack of motion as a separate issue, not the fat. Fat passengers have become the unwelcome guest in a body that may or may not be fit and putting stress on the engine. They need to get out and walk.