Exercise Before School May Help Children Thrive

The United States currently faces high rates of childhood obesity. According to the Center for Disease Control, rates of obesity among children are around 17%. In order to improve children’s growing bodies, a supervised exercise program was created to get young children moving around for an hour before school starts. There were findings from a study involving two dozen elementary and middle schools concluded that the exercise programs made children happier and healthier. However, the benefits of the exercise were only shown if a child was actively participating in the program. According to national exercise guidelines in the United States, it is recommended that children and adolescents engage is at least an hour of exercise on a daily basis. But, estimates showed that only 20% of children are active.

A group of mothers in Massachusetts decided they were going to start a local program that would help their children become more active. In 2009, parents came together to organize a before-school exercise program in their local grade school, so that the amount of time children spent moving around in the day could be increased. Each one hour session included a warm-up, running, and creating group games, such as tag. All of these activities were led by parent volunteers. The program became very popular and eventually gained a formal curriculum with the name Build Our Kids’ Success (BOKS). Dr. Taveras, a pediatrician who examined the program, believes that these such programs “might help to re-instill some of our children’s instinctual pleasure in motion.”

Read the New York Times article here

Read about the study here

Learn more about the Build Our Kids’ Success curriculum here