School-age children and physical activity

Dietmut Teijgeman-Hansen
Dietmut Teijgeman-Hansen

Amy Halliburton, former Graduate Research Assistant, Human Development and Family Studies; Sara Gable, Ph.D., State Specialist & Associate Professor, University of Missouri Extension

Between the ages of 6 and 11, children experience many physical changes. Children’s arm and leg coordination increases, their ability to use their fingers and hands for crafts and writing improves, and their interest in games with rules and organized sports grows. Unfortunately, many of today’s youth do not get enough exercise. Did you know that…

  • 9 out of 10 parents believe their children are physically fit, but in reality only 1 in 3 children are?
  • 63% of children are physically inactive by the time they are in high school?
  • 20% of the average child’s waking hours are spent watching television?
  • Children who are physically active experience fewer chronic health problems than sedentary children?
  • Physically active children have higher self-confidence and better self-images?

Parents, teachers, and fitness professionals all have a role to play in promoting physical fitness among children. However, the parents’ role is the most important. Children model their parents’ behavior, so parents must be physically active too. So, what can parents do to promote physical activity among their children?

Get tips for keeping your kids active — read the full version of this article at


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