Houston Matters

Report: Houston Students Need More Physical Activity In Schools Where ‘Recess Is Not Happening’

New research provides a status update on childhood health and well-being in Houston.

Many of the 1.8 million children growing up in the Greater Houston area aren't getting enough physical activity, according to a new study from the advocacy group Children at Risk.

Children at Risk CEO Dr. Bob Sanborn told Houston Matters some schools that focus on testing cut down on recess in the process.

"We see schools where recess is not happening," Sanborn said. "There's still a mandate of P.E., but free playtime is not happening, and there's still not enough activity in the schools."

The data revealed at least 58 percent of Houston middle schoolers aren’t reaching the target of 60 minutes of activity every day, while almost half of Houston middle schoolers did not go to a P.E. class on one or more days in an average week when they were in school.

The annual report also assessed other quality of life measures like education, safety and poverty. Researchers found that 23.5 percent of children in Harris County are food insecure.

Mental health was another key issue. According to researchers, one-third of Houston high school students said they feel sad or hopeless almost every day for weeks at a time.

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Jen Rice

Jen Rice


Jen Rice is the City Hall reporter at Houston Public Media, where she covers topics like Houston City Council and housing. Jen was born and raised in Houston's 100-year floodplain. She graduated from Barnard College at Columbia University and has a master's degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs...

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