A report card was just released on physical activity for kids in the United States. Sadly, if the U.S. were a student, it would definitely be going to summer school.
The first-ever United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth was devised as a way to evaluate the levels of physical and sedentary activity in American kids. Those who created the card hope it can be used to demonstrate how important physical activity is, and why people need to do what they can to make sure kids get more of it.
The grade scale developed by the Report Card Research Advisory Committee was fairly standard:
A – We are succeeding with a large majority of children and youth (81-100 percent).
B – We are succeeding with well over half of children and youth (61-80 percent).
C – We are succeeding with about half of children and youth (41-60 percent).
D – We are succeeding with less than half, but some, children and youth (21-40 percent).
F – We are succeeding with very few children and youth (0-20 percent).
Inc – Incomplete. At the present time there is insufficient information available to establish a grade.
Grades were given for several categories, though four did receive incompletes due to lack of information about the category. They were Active Play, Health-Related Fitness, Family and Peers, and Government Strategies and Investments.
On the items that did receive a grade, well, it just wasn’t pretty. Here they are, from the National Physical Activity Plan:
Overall Physical Activity – D-
The proportion of kids getting 60 or more minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity, at least 5 days a week was 42 percent in children ages 6-11 and just 8 percent in youth ages 12-15.
Sedentary Behaviors – D
The proportion of kids spending 2 hours or less in front of a screen per day was 54 percent.
Active Transportation – F
The percentage of kids walking or biking to school on a regular basis is only 13 percent.
Organized Sport Participation – C-
Fifty-eight percent of high school students participate on one or more community or school sports team.
School – C-
Just over half, 52 percent, of high school students attend at least one physical education class per week.
Community & the Built Environment – B-
Most kids are living in a neighborhood with at least one park or playground area, with 85 percent having access to one.
Though the U.S. received grades you probably wouldn’t normally hang on the fridge, in this case that may be exactly what you should do. The grades serve as a simple and stark reminder that kids aren’t as active as they need to be, and something needs to be done about it.