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We Need More Physical Education

We’ve heard it all before: the obesity rate in the United States is an upward trend—and the inadequate physical education across this country does not help. While there are no national requirements for physical education, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends 150 minutes of instructional physical education for elementary school children and 225 minutes for middle and high school students per week for the entire school year.

Only six out of the 41 states that require physical education at the elementary level meet the recommended guidelines. Of the 37 states that require physical education for middle schools, only two states meet the 225 minute/week recommendation. That’s not the worse part—by high school, none of the 41 states meet the recommended guidelines.

So why do we need physical education? Not just for the obvious benefits, such as a smaller risk of weight-related health problems and better self-esteem and leadership skills, but for the preservation of sports in young girls’ lives. Research shows that for many young girls, physical education class is their first step into athletics. Don’t we want our girls to experience the benefits of sports? Of course. That is why we need more physical education in our schools. And that is why GoGirlGo! is so important. It aims to improve the lives of sedentary girls and encourages girls to keep engaging in physical activity, whether it is in school or out.