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Athletic Success in Missouri Begins in PE Classes

It’s been an exciting month for sports in Missouri!

The hockey Blues have set a new franchise record, going 4-0 in the first four games of the season. Mizzou football is still ranked in the NCAA Top 10, MU Girls Volleyball and the Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated, and it is Homecoming season at schools of every level across the Show-Me State.

And, of course, how can we talk about local sports without congratulating the St. Louis Cardinals on their National League title? The Redbirds have made it to the World Series again! (Congrats go to the Royals for a winning season as well! Perhaps another I-70 Series is in Missouri’s future?)

With the state buzzing due to exciting big league sports news, it is a great time to talk about physical education (PE) and our school-aged students. Specifically, about why physical activity is an important part of public education for Missouri’s kids.

To help keep our students healthy, the State of Missouri requires that all school districts incorporate at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week for students in grades K-6, and at least 45 minutes per week for students in grades 7-8 (the state encourages districts to reach at least 225 minutes for 7th and 8th grades). High school students are required to earn 1 physical education credit in order to graduate from high school. (Source)

The National Association for Sports and Physical Education says that PE helps students in a number of ways, including:

· improved physical fitness (strength, flexibility, etc.)
· motor skills development
· self discipline
· improved judgment
· stress reduction
· strengthened peer relationships
· improved confidence and self-esteem

Although obesity rates among kids have dropped over the last several years in Missouri, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still concerned.

“Obesity in early childhood increases the risk of high cholesterol, high blood sugar,and many other health problems.” – Thomas Frieden, CDC

One recent study conducted at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, reinforced existing theories that physically healthy students outperform unhealthy ones cognitively. The New York Times referenced the study in a September 2013 story on physical fitness and academic success:

“…the children who were in better aerobic condition significantly outperformed the less-fit group, remembering about 40 percent of the regions’ names accurately, compared with barely 25 percent accuracy for the out-of-shape kids.” (Read the full story here.)

What do you think?
· Do you think that PE is an important part of your child’s public school education?
· Does your child stay more focused when he or she has had plenty of physical activity?
· Does your student’s school incorporate the state’s recommended physical activity each week?
· Does your student enjoy the PE classes or is it something they do because they have to?

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