Importance of Physical Activity
Studies have shown a dramatic rise in the number of obese children in the last few decades in this country. The number of overweight children 6-17 years of age has more than doubled in the last thirty years. There are serious problems that can result from being obese as a child, including: low self concept, poor self- esteem, depression, poor body image, risk for eating disorders, hip and other bone problems, liver problems, early puberty, childhood overweight, sleep apnea and breathing problems, and adult health complications such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Clinical research demonstrates that obesity related health problems that exist in childhood continue into adulthood and increase with age. Consequently, the direct and indirect healthcare costs to society and the US economy are astounding.
Americans are more sedentary than ever before. Changing societal values, technological advances, media influx, worldwide sharing of information, and changing roles of family and community increase the need for quality health and physical education. Because an increasing number of children in the United States are obese, childhood and adolescent obesity is one of todays most complex and immediate challenges and health concerns.
With the current increase in chronic disease and the overwhelming number of obese and overweight Americans, it is essential that young people begin to build healthy habits based on current health knowledge and skills at an early age. Equally important is the maintenance of positive health behaviors and skills to avoid behaviors that have negative health effects.