Have you read the New York Times's article, "Can a Playground Be Too Safe?"
I agree with Dr. Bell that children need to be encouraged to exercise. "Fun" playground equipment can help children become more enthusiastic regarding physical fitness.
I own a pediatric fitness facility in Rockville, MD, (www.FitnessForHealth.org) and work with schools in the Washington, D.C., area to create recess and Field Day initiatives that help children with special needs better participate in recess and become more physically fit.
A child who is socially or physically lacking stands out at recess and there is a need for adaptive phys ed programs/equipment in schools to help children feel more included in group fitness activities. The negative recess experience (or negative PE experience) stays with a child through adulthood. If adults associate physical activity with negative events in their past, they grow up to be inactive and averse to physical activity.
I believe that the key to improving children's physical fitness is to HAVE FUN while ensuring safe playground equipment and encouraging ALL children to try new things - in a safe manner.
What do you think?