Physical Activity in School Aged Children

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Obesity and associated health problems are a growing problem in the United States. Within the past 20 years, obesity rates have risen significantly. “Unhealthy diet and physical inactivity can contribute to or aggravate many chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.” (CDC, 2003, pg. 1). More than 80 percent of the youth do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for Healthy People 2020. (Physical Activity, 2011, pg.1). At least half of youth do not engage in physical activity that promotes long-term health. (Exercise, 2011, para. 1).

I have interest in this topic because I always worry if my 6 year old son is getting enough physical activity. He has mild cerebral palsy and has a hard time performing sports, running, or even riding a bike. With all the health benefits physical activity has to offer I wish he could do more. Our family has a history of diabetes, hypertension, and stroke that I do not want my son to inherit. During my pediatric clinical I saw all the school-age children running all over during recess and getting good exercise. This made me even more aware of how my son does not get enough exercise.

School –age children is my targeted age group for physical activity. These years are important to development of lifelong exercise. During these years the children are continuing to enhance skills such as eye-hand coordination, agility, speed, and muscular strength. Children need to be involved in physical activity and continue to develop motor skills. Physical activity has many benefits including; positive sense of accomplishment and self-esteem, increasing physical ability, weight control, and socialization. (Ball & Bindler, 2008, p. 328-329).

In addition, Researchers have found a strong relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement. Children who are active are more likely to have improved concentration, be more...
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