On October 6, 2005, the Ministry of Education released a press release stating that it ” …has taken another important step in supporting healthy schools. The Ministry announced today that 20 minutes of sustained moderate to vigorous physical activity during instructional time must become an essential part of the school day for all elementary students.”
The following quotes, (provided to me by Jeff Bumstead), really help to explain the importance of Daily Physical Activity in Ontario schools. As a phys-ed specialist, I value DPA, not only for its effect on children’s physical health, but also their mental health, self-esteem and abilities to concentrate in class.
“Between 1981 and 1996, the number of obese children in Canada between the ages of seven and 13 tripled. This is contributing to a dramatic rise in illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension and some cancers. . . . many young people do not have the opportunity to be physically active every day . . .”
2004 Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Report: Healthy Weights, Healthy Lives (Toronto:Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care,Ontario, 2004), p. 2.
“School-based healthy eating and physical activity programs provide a great opportunity to enhance the future health and well-being of children because they can reach almost all children and may (1) enhance learning and provide social benefits, (2) enhance health during critical periods of growth and maturation, (3) lower the risk for chronic diseases in adulthood, and (4) help to establish healthy behaviors at an early age that will lead to lifelong healthy habits.”
Paul J.Veugelers and Angela L. Fitzgerald, “Effectiveness of School Programs in Preventing Childhood Obesity: A Multilevel Comparison”, American Journal of Public Health 95, no. 3 (March 2005), p. 434.
“Analysis of data from the CCHS [Canadian Community Health Survey], the CFLRI [Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute’s] Physical Activity Monitor, and the HBSC [Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children] survey indicates that less than half of Canadian children and youth are physically active on a daily basis to a degree of energy expenditure that meets the guidelines for healthy growth and development.”
Active Healthy Kids Canada, Dropping the Ball: Canada’s Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, 2005 (Toronto, 2005), p. 7.
“. . . studies generally support the suggestion from cross-sectional data that academic performance is maintained or even enhanced by an increase in a student’s level of habitual physical activity, despite a reduction in curricular or free time for the study of academic material.”
Roy J. Shephard,“Curricular Physical Activity and Academic Performance”, Pediatric Exercise Science 9 (1997), p. 119.
Ministry of Education Daily Physical Activity Resources: