Physical education requirement in elementary, middle school could lead to more active life later on, professor says

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A bill recently passed by the Texas Senate would require physical education for kindergartners through eighth graders - a move that one University of North Texas expert says would be a benefit for students.

"It’s a good idea in terms of promoting physical activity," said Karen Weiller, associate professor of kinesiology at UNT and former Southern District Representative to the Council on Physical Education for Children.

Weiller says informing the general public that children need to be physically active is critical.

"We all need to be concerned about childhood obesity and what leads to it," she says.

The bill would require "moderate or vigorous" physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, or 135 minutes a week. Engaging children in physical education classes through eighth grade will have a lasting, positive impact on students’ future physical well-being, Weiller says.

"We want all youth to be active for a lifetime. Children need a solid foundation of movement concepts that include an emphasis or connection to fitness. They also need to be involved in physical education programs that are developmentally appropriate," she says.

If children feel confident and comfortable while exercising, she says, "they are going to be able to continue that exercise and physical activity well beyond eighth grade."

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108