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The population of Australia is 24 million.  In the United States there are 24 million obese children. In the US, one in three kids (33%) are obese, while obesity affects only 13% of children worldwide. Despite America’s increasing obesity epidemic, little is done to uphold proper funding and execution of Physical Education in schools. Only ten states require proper funding of Physical Education in grades K-12. Proper funding of Physical Education in grades K-12 is necessary for cognitive development, preventing chronic illness, and promoting a healthy youth.The human brain goes through the most change from 10-15. The average middle school student has an attention span of 10-12 minutes; kids of this age learn best through interaction and activity, yet misinterpret emotions and instructions 40% of the time. Lack of physical excercise has been directly related to chronic disease. According to World Health Organization, obesity is 100% preventable, yet obesity in children has nearly tripled since 1980. As of 2016, one in three children are obese. Childhood obesity is directly related to lack of exercise and poor diet. ‘Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more likely to develop non-communicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age,’ according to The Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. Obesity has also been linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, abnormal glucose tolerance, and ultimately death. In a society that spent 53 billion hours watching Netflix this year, children are spending more time playing video games and scrolling through social media than ever before. Teenagers spend an average of five hours on their phone everyday,-about ? of their waking hours! (According to And the average gamer spends 9.7 hours playing video games a week. With the ongoing societal shift towards staying inside and increased screen time, fewer kids are playing recreational sports and being active. While these problems plague children ages 2-17, proper Physical Education can easily prevent and reverse them. Regular physical activity has been shown to positively affect cognitive functioning. Professor Charles H. Hillman and colleagues tested elementary students’ cognitive functioning and attention span as it relates to consistent physical activity. The students were split into two groups; one group participated in a daily 60 minute PE program for one month; the other group did not. After a month, only the physical activity group showed a larger P3 amplitude (greater attention span) and a faster P3 latency (processing speed). A study done by Dr. Matthew Pontifex, showed children with ADHD indicated larger P3 Amplitude and shorter P3 latency after exercise than after seated reading. Students also had better reading comprehension after exercise.Properly funding PE gives students a break from the constant screen time they’ve grown accustomed to. Ask a third grader if they’ve played your favorite game from P.E., chances are they won’t know what it is, or they’ll tell you “We don’t have P.E. at school, we do yoga or gardening”. In addition to reducing screen time, PE encourages a healthier lifestyle. By teaching kids new games, they learn teamwork and make new friends. They now have new games to play with their friends at recess and after school. This goes for all ages, middle and high school students may have not tried certain sports, but find they have a passion for something they tried in P.E. Those against proper funding of Physical Education K-12 argue funding is too expensive to maintain and serves little benefit. While funding P.E. does means an increase in funding, it’s more expensive to treat obesity and fund special programs for students with attention problems. Not to mention federal laws state requires at least 150 minutes of physical exercise a week. Others argue P.E. is just about forcing exercise, it’s not. P.E. is a time for students to learn, make new friends, and have fun. Without proper funding of Physical Education for all ages, kids will live unhealthy lives. Whether it’s health complications resulting from obesity, slower cognitive function, or a shorter attention span, children will suffer from the lack of exercise.Picture this: You’re twelve. You spend your day glued to a tiny plastic chair learning state capitals- in your seven hours of school you get a thirty minute lunch break but you’re otherwise sitting. After school you go home, your homework takes longer than it should because you’re constantly distracted and scrolling through social media. Once you finish, you play Mario Kart for three hours, eat dinner, and go to bed. Everyday, it’s all you do. Eventually it catches up, by high school you’ve put on extra weight, but your attention span is just as short as before. Eventually you’re diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes- a direct result from the extra weight you’ve gained. The rest of your life is spent regulating insulin and driving around a motorized wheelchair in the grocery store. That’s where you come in.  A parent or non parent, go to school board meetings, urge the board to fund P.E., elect superintendents who will uphold the laws regarding Physical Education. Encourage your kids to get off the phones and play outside! Ask them to talk to their teachers about having P.E. There are no negatives for physical activity.  In fact, staying active all your life decreases individual health risk, and reduces medical expenses for individuals and our county.  The ROI is a no brainer.  Let’s Get Physical!  *Olivia Newton John Voice*


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