A report, tabled by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), stating that only one out of five schools in Dubai fulfils the recommended duration of physical activity per week is disturbing, highlighted a UAE paper.
"What makes these observations critical is the non-adherence to the recommended level of physical activity, wherein almost half the schools 47 per cent flout guidelines that prohibit them from substituting physical education classes with other activities", said Gulf News in its today's editorial.
Gaps identified have not been addressed. This raises the argument that physical education must be rich in quality and quantity. This can lead to a student's comprehensive, well-rounded education programme and a means to having a positive impact on life-long health and well-being. It also brings about a commitment to physical activity and fitness as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Effective fitness programmes in schools can help combat obesity and thwart the threat of chronic diseases and disabilities in the longer term. Local schools must ensure that children are graded for their efforts just as they are for mainstream subjects. This must become a part of the curriculum.
"The benefits of physical education go beyond fitness. Research has established that there is a correlation between fitness and academic excellence", concluded the paper.