2012 Olympic hopefuls, gymnast Jordyn Wieber and swimmer Ryan Lochte, have been getting physical for most of their lives. But do most kids have the same opportunities as Jordyn and Ryan?
Believe it or not, in the United States, only 8 percent of elementary schools and 6 percent of middle and high schools provide daily physical education for everyone. And 20 percent of elementary schools have abolished PE altogether.
We want everyone to realize that PE reduces stress and calms kids, making them happier and more attentive in the classroom. And physically fit kids are more likely to skip risky behaviors. PE is also the best way to battle obesity (30 percent of all teens) and Type-2 diabetes, which has increased 21 percent in kids since 2001. These conditions threaten children's heart health even while they're young and place a huge economic burden on society.
Summer is a great time to start a year-round plan for getting your kids active and establishing habits for lifelong good health.
Step One: Get yourself off the sofa and away from the computer! Active parents have kids who are five to six times more physical than children of couch potatoes.
Step Two: Plan all-season family activities: Walk for 45 minutes after dinner; take kids to a swim club twice a week; go on weekend hikes; garden or do tasks around the yard!
Step Three: Make it a community effort. Call teachers, neighbors, parents of your kids' friends. Plan activities together, and lobby that school board! Get daily PE back into your school!
© 2012 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.