When physical education fails to meet its goals of providing students with the knowledge base, life habits, and mindset necessary to be physically active throughout their lifetime, it can lead children to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. According a 2010 study by the WHO, 81% of children aged 11–17 worldwide did not meet the minimum recommended exercise guidelines of 60 minutes daily.
The causes of lack of physical education vary from country to country. These include a shortage in facilities and equipment, a paucity of physical education teachers, large class sizes, and budgetary constraints. In some African countries such as Botswana and Malawi, where children attend school for a minimal amount of time, the budgets allocated for physical education are instead used to concentrate on subjects such as languages and mathematics. Something extremely important to take into account is that physical education can be improved outside of school as well. It is important for children to receive a formal physical education in school; however, learning about physical fitness and increasing activity levels becomes easier when they are also educated about health and physical activity at home
Moreover, a lack of governmental legislation and intervention can be to blame. In parts of South America (with the exception of Chile and Colombia), there are no laws that make physical education compulsory: thus, it is omitted from many schools.
In other cases, such as in areas of the United States, the mandated physical education hours are simply not met. For example, in 33 states, students are permitted to be exempt from physical education courses by replacing them with other activities such as marching band practices.
Outside of school, children often fail to engage in physical activity due to lack of physical literacy, inadequate sleep, the increasing attractiveness of rival pastimes such as video games, and parents that do not play their part. It is important that parents allow their children the full opportunity to participate in both formal and informal sports and promote healthy healthy physical activity levels. Also, in achievement-oriented populations such as those seen in China, there is an increased emphasis on academic results which also detracts from physical activity time.
Physical consequences of obesity
An increase in sedentary lifestyle due to a lack of physical education at home and at school has many physical and psychological consequences on a child in the short and long term.
According to a Portuguese study, children with sedentary lifestyles have nine times poorer motor coordination than active children of the same age. They also have worsened bone density, strength, and flexibility. In the long term, they are more likely to use tobacco, alcohol, and drugs than their active peers.
Sedentary behaviour is strongly associated with obesity, and this imparts a great health risk. Obese children are more likely to have high blood pressure, heart disease, high LDL cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, sleep apnea, menstrual cycle abnormalities, bone and joint problems, increased cancer risk, and reduced balance.They are also more likely to be obese adults.
As exercise is known to improve well-being and reduce stress, physical inactivity is correlated with poor psychological health such as an increase of major depression. There is a link between obesity and psychiatric illness and the two feed on each other in a vicious cycle.
A lack of physical activity is associated with poorer concentration and academic performance, particularly in mathematics and reading.
Finally, obesity induced from lack of exercise also contributes to a decrease in general mental health. Overweight children and teens are more likely to suffer from poor self-esteem, negative body image, teasing, and bullying