On June 27, 2013, the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) issued a release in support of the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for increased physical activity in U.S. schools. The IOM report issued on May 23, 2013, is titled, “Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School.”
According to the F4CP release, 12.5 million children in the U.S. are obese and another third are overweight. “Doctors of chiropractic serve at the frontlines in the battle against childhood obesity,” states Gerard Clum, D.C., spokesperson, F4CP. Dr. Clum continued, “Physical activity and education are critical to a child’s physical, cognitive and emotional development as well as to academic success, and the F4CP strongly supports its inclusion in schools.”
The IOM is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization that works to provide unbiased and authoritative advice related to healthcare. In their report, the IOM gave a rationale for their recommendations: “Because the vast majority of youth are in schools for many hours, because schools have important infrastructure and are critical to the education and health of children and adolescents, and because physical activity promotes health and learning, it follows that physical activity should be a priority for all schools, particularly if there is an opportunity to improve academic achievement.”
Contained in their report, the IOM offered a number of recommendations which include:
- Students should engage in additional vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the school day through recess, dedicated classroom physical activity time, and other opportunities.
- Additional opportunities for physical activity before and after school hours, including but not limited to active transport, before- and after-school programming, and intramural and extramural sports, should be made accessible to all students.
- Increasing the amount of time youth spend in physical activity through brief classroom breaks or incorporating physical activity directly into academic sessions.
- Working with parent groups and parent-teacher associations to create a demand for physical activity and mobilize this effort.
“The F4CP supports the IOM initiatives to educate the public on the importance of physical activity and good health,” adds Dr. Clum. “With sufficient physical activity and key behavioral changes, such as healthier food choices and attention to weight management goals, America’s youth will improve in areas of fitness, academics, self-esteem and physical performance, while lowering risks of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.”