Are Your Kids Getting Enough Physical Education? #ProtectPE @Voices4HK #Ad

Physical Education

*This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

    There are many factors that influence how children perform academically but I bet many of you did not know that students who receive physical education, or PE, do better when it comes to behavior, academic achievement, and emotional health.  It’s important for kids have frequent opportunities to engage in physical activity on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools provide daily PE or its equivalent for the entire school year.

Physical Education

    Racial inequalities and socio-economic challenges leave many schools without resources for PE, but kids shouldn’t have to miss out on the benefits of PE because of where they live or because their schools lack financial resources.  A good PE program is a crucial part of a school community because staying active has a positive impact on a child’s physical, mental, and emotional health.  This is certainly evident within the communities in which schools are located that have curriculums which foster well-rounded PE programs.

    As an educator, I have seen firsthand how active students correlate to students who achieve.  Over the years, I have observed how at-risk students have flourished academically due to being motivated by being on school teams.  Since they have to maintain good grades to stay on these teams, they put forth a huge effort in class in order to do well in their classes and also continue to be a part of the team.  Additionally, taking part in school sports helps to boost their self-esteem which is something I immediately notice in their eagerness to participate in class discussions.

Physical Education

    Currently, many of my students who participate in sports, compete in physical fitness competitions, and attend daily gym classes tend to be more aware during the lesson.  They often will raise their hands to participate and seem more motivated and energetic throughout the school day.  Under ESSA (the federal education law), all states must develop a comprehensive plan to ensure all students receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education.

    The thing is: inclusion of health and PE in ESSA is not mandated in every state or school district.  We need to advocate for daily PE to be included as a core component in ESSA plans so that money can be accessed for PE.  If PE is not included in the plan, it won’t have access to funding!

Physical Education

Want to learn more about how you can work to increase PE in your community? Visit

Let’s Discuss:  Do you think that your child is receiving enough PE classes at school? Why or why not?

Disclosure: This post reflects a compensated editorial partnership with Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. All opinions are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

© 2017, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. robin rue says

    My kids have gym twice a week and that is not enough. I understand they have to get their other specials in while they are in school (art, music, etc). so I send my boys outside after school to run around as long as the weather is nice.

  2. I so agree with this, as a kid in school I can remember getting 45 minutes of recess and another 45 minutes of gym each day! That release, that time to be active and not sitting on my tush was so important. Now I see my friends’ kids — many of them have no recess and gym only once or maybe twice a week. I don’t understand how their kids can keep all that energy bundled inside and in fact I think they can’t and it’s unreasonable to expect them too. Well-exercised kids make better students. Great post.

  3. Physical exercise is so important! Look at how proud with that trophy! PE is a great way to build confidence and teamwork.

  4. Oh gosh, don’t get me started because I won’t stop. As a teacher in rural TN, I SEE how important physical activity is for these kids. They’ve been brought up in such unhealthy homes and PE is a way out of that cycle. Unfortunately, they only offered it once a week at the school I was at. I wish there could be a huge change in the way schools out here prioritize things.

  5. My 3rd grader has PE twice a week too I believe and they also have two recesses where he plays soccer and football. He wants to do a fall sport and will be starting swim lessons soon so I think he will get some good exercise going.

  6. I hope my kids are getting enough out of PE. I have two very active boys so they love playing sports and running around. I hated PE growing up though.

  7. It is so important to get out and get moving. I know I like to turn on the sprinklers and let my daughter play in them in the warmer months!

  8. Reesa Lewandowski says

    I can tell you that my kids DO not get enough exercise during school days. I can tell based off of their energy levels at the end of the day!

  9. I wish they had something like this when I was a kid. I did not get nearly enough time and it was part of the reason I was an overweight child.

  10. Neely (@Neelykins) says

    It really is sad how many people do not get enough PE. I remember we didnt have to do it in high school.

  11. PE classes should be a mandatory part of our education system. I wish that the national dept of education could see that…and could fund that. Not sure why we don’t find this as a priority… but thanks for reminding us all of this!

  12. Never enough PE and recess. You have to have both, one with organized play and the other where children practice their social skills. Thanks for the link, I will be checking it out.

  13. We homeschool so my daughter gets pe and recess all the time! But that’s the beauty of homeschool. I remember when she was in public school they only had pe three times a week, because they had to share that time frame with art and music the other days.

  14. PE and the arts need to be priorities in schools again. Kids need to be more active and fit!

  15. You know what? I only have 2 kids in school right now but I know for a fact they aren’t getting enough or nearly enough anyway. I don’t think it’s very fair. They even took a recess away from my oldest son’s grade because the kids are too much outside! Ridic. I’m going to have to look more into it!

  16. As parents we have to be proactive and intentional about making sure our children get exercise. I know that with my kids I take them to the gym with me and also make sure they get outside and get active.

  17. I agree with you. PE is important in a child’s overall development. It not only gives them a chance to burn off that excess sugar, it also teaches them teamwork and strategy skills.

  18. I used to be so un sporty – I absolutely hated PE as a kid and even now when I think about it I cringe! I can appreciate that kids do need it though – just like I did despite the hatred. Your little one looks so proud!

  19. There was just a story on NPR about the lack of PE or recess in schools, even when it is mandated. I don’t understand why this isn’t a priority. Kids need to move and stay active, especially in our sedentary culture.

  20. Oh man, this reminds me how little physical exercise kids to in their scbool and not only that, when they do PE it’s in the boiling heat so I can’t be sure it’s that great.

  21. I was not a massive fan of PE growing up but it was more about being alienated rather than the subject itself. I do feel that it is important to make sure kids get active.

  22. PE was a joke when I was growing up, and nowadays, recess is being taken away from kids, too. They’re expected to sit for long periods of time and perform well on tests so schools can receive more funding. It’s sad how little attention is paid to physical fitness, a skill they’ll definitely need for a healthy life.

  23. I hate that some schools want to get rid of PE. It’s so important to their growth. I completely agree with you.

  24. It is so important that children get ample chances to exercise from a young age. As an early years teacher in the UK I definitely feel my children get enough exercise. However, I’m not sure this is the case as they get older. I used to love doing PE at school.

  25. I love that there is a new effort to get kids moving again! So great for them and the parents. Inspiring too!

  26. My child doesn’t get daily PE or even recess and he’s only eight. It makes me so sad that they don’t get the activity we did as kids!

  27. I really believe that elementary school kids, at the very least, need daily PE and recess. I can’t believe that’s not a thing anymore!

  28. My son is only three but as he gets older I know this is something that be of importance to me.

  29. Honestly, I hated PE when I was in school. Now that I’m an adult I think I was so silly for hating it so much. Kids definitely need it that’s for sure!

  30. Our kids do PE in school and they play plenty outside in our backyard at home as well as the park when it’s nice out.

  31. I’m sad to see that many PE programs are getting cut from school budgets because it is so important to teach them the importance of staying fit and healthy! When I was in school, it was a requirement to take PE, I hope it is still the same today.

  32. Wow – I’m surprised at those stats! I’m homeschooled so it was always hard to find different ways to get excercise in during school.

  33. katrina gehman says

    My kids love gym and I’m so happy that they have a good school for it. It’s a very important part of the day.

  34. Anita Anderson says

    PE now is not how it used to be back in the day. My kids each only have PE once a week if at all. Budgets have cut many programs and this includes PE.

  35. I think PE is so important, especially now when most kids would rather play with their phones. I remember when we were kids we were out playing all afternoon!!

  36. Neha Saini says

    Physical exercise should be must in schools. I had physical education as subject in school which was very helpful as it is so important that children get ample chances to exercise from a young age.

  37. PE is so important we need to keep our kids active to create a better lifestyle and a healthier approach to everyday life. Specially now that we live in a world of technology and we spend too much time sitting in front of the computer.

  38. This is a really good question. I do need to make sure that my son does especially since he is at home with me.

  39. Wow, these are some shocking numbers. I was not aware that so few children got the necessary exercise at school. I really hope that schools take a look at these things and consider the long term effects of it.

  40. I really think PE is important for overall child development. It helps them not only in the physical aspect, but it also teaches them to be team players. As parents, we must do our part that if our kids don’t get enough PE at school, we must find ways to engage them in sports or any activity outside of school.

  41. Joy Venters says

    PE is so important to the kids, especially in the day of the smaller tech devices. Kids constantly have their heads bent down. What is going to happen to their necks?

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