Do kids really need P.E. in elementary school?

One physical education instructor believes kids need to be more active in school.
One physical education instructor believes kids need to be more active in school.

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Coach Michael James is in his 10th year as a physical education instructor. He said he's seen a lot of children who need to work out more.

"I see children every day who have difficulties bearing their own weight. They have difficulties getting up off of the ground, unassisted. And just overall the children just aren't able to play as long," said James.

He said they need more frequent breaks and they just don't seem to enjoy going outside as much. "They lead a sedentary lifestyle - in my opinion, a sedentary lifestyle which will lead to things that effect the heart, heart disease, high blood pressure - which is also going to lead to being an overweight individual," he said.

In his opinion, there are just too many temptations today. "There are so many things for them to get into, with video games, and screens, and iPods and all the kids are into. But they're not into climbing trees, going outside and playing like they used to be."

So if the need is there for physical education, how much should they be taking?  "I would increase it if it were up to me because, number one, I love P. E. But its necessary for the children. K through 8? I would do mandatory P. E. every year - not optional," said James.

James said healthier folks perform better. "It's important to their overall quality of life. If they're not physically fit, they can't be as mentally fit as they could possibly be."

For more information about obesity in children, refer to this fact sheet from the CDC.

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