Report pushes more Phys. Ed. time for students - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Report pushes more Phys. Ed. time for students

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Eau Claire County (WQOW) - A new report is recommending more gym time for students. The report suggests physical education should be treated like history, English and science; a core subject instead of just a special offering.

"Probably the most difficult thing is finding time in a day. We're already lengthening our school day next year, adding minutes to our everyday schedule. Not to Physical Education, but just our academic classes," said Jamie Oliver, Physical Education teacher for Altoona Middle and High School.

At Altoona High School, students are required to finish one and a half credits of physical education. As a result, students will get 45 minutes of P.E. every day of the week one semester, and the next, they aren't taking any P.E. course.

"Standardized testing is pushed, more of an emphasis towards academics, and so we've obviously been pushed to the back burner," Oliver added.

The Institute of Medicine published a report Thursday recommending schools provide students with 60 minutes per day of physical activity. Whether it's by recess or P.E, the benefits can be more than just staying in shape.

"Physical activity is really important for the school day, because not only does it have the benefits of decreased body weight, but children who actually get the amount of exercise that they should, they're able to focus better in class," said Nichole Marty, an OakLeaf Pediatrics nurse.

"Many parents say they'd be in favor of letting their children burn off a little extra energy during the school day."

"Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in our country and I think that if we can address that issue from multiple directions, be that from the parents taking responsibility and the schools taking responsibility, that it will provide the best opportunity for our children," said Leora Taylor-Sanderson of Eau Claire.

"Throughout the day I help in my daughter's classroom, weekly. So I've noticed that a lot of the kids at different times need a little bit of activity to break it up. It's hard to sit through a whole day of learning and not be on the move," said Brittney Malone of Eau Claire.

According to the report, just about half of the nation's school children get at least the 60 minutes of physical activity recommended. It's up to individual schools to determine how much P.E. time is required. Click here to read the full report.

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