Physical activity is bodily movement of any type, while physical education programs (phys ed, or PE) use physical activity to teach children how to establish and sustain an active lifestyle. Both are important for obesity prevention and a student’s healthy development.
- Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (CDC)
recommend that youth ages 6 through 17 years of age get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day to gain the health benefits of physical activity. Adults caring for children ages 3 through 5 should encourage active play (light, moderate, or vigorous intensity) and aim for at least 3 hours per day.
- Physical Education Guidelines: The Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE) recommends that schools provide 150 minutes of instructional physical education for elementary school children and 225 minutes for middle and high school students per week for the entire school year. This may be a combination of recess, physical education classes, and other physical activity. Unfortunately, many schools fall short of these recommendations, but PTAs can be strong advocates for physical activity in schools.