Feature Archive

Encouraging Exercise in Your Kids

The ABCs of getting your kids outside and active

By Wendy Fries
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Reading, writing, 'rithmetic, and recess.

One of these things is not like the others. Though kids get plenty of reading, writing, and arithmetic at school, it turns out many can't depend on recess any longer.

Pressure placed on schools to produce higher test scores often means cutting programs that are not graded -- like recess and PE. An estimated 40% of all elementary schools have cut recess or are in the process of doing so, says Rhonda L. Clements, president of the American Association of the Child's Right to Play (IPAUSA).

Worse still, the CDC reports that in 2003, only 55.7% of high school students were enrolled in a PE class.

Yet the CDC says the number of overweight kids has tripled since 1980, putting kids at risk for early heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Now more than ever, we need to encourage our kids to get out and get active.

A Is for Access to Temptation

Webster's defines activity as vigorous or energetic action -- in short, everything that gets the blood pumping, from rolling down a grassy hill to kicking through piles of fall leaves. Adults often think fitness means a formal plan, a membership, or special gear.