Physical inactivity is the main cause of obesity, which affects over 23 million youth. Further, only half of American children meet the Surgeon General’s recommendation for at least 60 minutes of physical activity more than three days per week.
Despite these facts, schools, who have the venues and capacity to provide students with physical activity and encourage healthy lifestyles, are cutting back on physical education and physical activity programs. This is mainly due to budget cuts and initiatives to maximize standardized test scores.
Recent studies have found that physical activity leads to improved academic performance. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a 2007 study found that teens who were involved in school- run physical activities or played sports at home were 20 percent more likely to get an “A” grade in math or English.
Additionally, a 2000-01 Massachusetts study found that students, who participated in 56 hours of annual physical education, earned higher scores on English and language arts testing, as opposed to students who participated in less than 28 hours of physical education.
Other recent research findings include enhanced cognitive functioning, better attendance, and less disciplinary issues among children who participate in the recommended amount of physical activity.
We recognize that obesity is the leading concern for the wellbeing of young girls. GoGirlGo!, our landmark educational program launched in 2001 for elementary, middle and high school girls, works across the country to keep girls involved in physical activity and to improve the health of sedentary girls.