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Children need 60 minutes of daily physical activity, expert panel says

y. "In addition, youngsters like physical activities that are challenging."

Experts say much of the needed activity can be achieved at school with appropriate physical education, recess, intramural sports and before- and after-school programs. "In this regard, CDC recommends daily quality physical education from kindergarten through grade 12," the panelists write. "Both physical education and recess afford opportunities to achieve the daily physical activity goal without any evidence of compromising academic performance. Restoration of intramural sport programs and expansion of the school day for such programs in middle and high schools may provide opportunities for all students to be physically active."

"We need to educate teachers and administrators that physical education is important for youngsters," says Dr. Malina, noting that historically when concerns about progress in math and science emerge, physical education and art get moved aside. "The evidence is clear, a renewed emphasis on physical activity in our schools will not have a negative impact on academics," he says.

The recommendations are reasonable and achievable by most children with some effort, the experts say. Parents, pediatricians, daycare centers, and preschools also play important roles in encouraging healthy behaviors, panelists say. Communities can as well by providing safe, appropriate settings such as bike paths and green space, they say.

And if an hour is good, is more even better? "I don't think there is any question that more is better within limits," Dr. Strong says, noting again the importance of the recommendations being based on available science.

Other panelists and authors include Dr. Cameron J.R. Blimkie, McMaster University, Ontario; Dr. Stephen R. Daniels, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati; Dr. Rodney K. Dishman, University of Georgia; Dr. Bernard Gutin, MCG; Dr. Albert C. Hergenroeder, Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. A
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
13-Jun-2005


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