This year, the President’s Youth Fitness Program was introduced nationwide. At the core of this still-voluntary program is a focus on teaching lifetime fitness for good health for every child, not just performance for the athletic stars. Kids are engaged with more positive experiences with movement, and parents are invited to partner in the process with information on activities that improve overall health. Instilling confidence, teaching lifetime skills, setting personal goals and leveraging technology and tools like Fitnessgram to assess and track progress against evidence-based criteria are key.
But PE must be returned to school curriculums as a core subject so schools have the option of using federal Title 1 and Title 2 funds to pay for this health education and physical education.
A bill (Physical Act, S.392, H.R. 21260) is pending before Congress that would make both health and PE core subjects again, allowing schools to apply for federal funding for this critical need. The act does not increase taxes, create a new program, or mandate a curriculum.
This is worthy of bipartisan support. Investing education dollars in PE in our elementary schools will save us money in the long run as we battle the ravages of diabetes and other obesity-related diseases.