Physical Education in Schools

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There has been a constant increase of obese children over the past couple years. In fact, a troubling consequence of obesity is the growing number of children experiencing health problems such as type 2 diabetes, with anticipated higher lifetime risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory problems, and some cancers (Wamp 2009). Doctors, physical educators, and other health conscious individuals are trying to implement various physical activity interventions in schools to counteract obesity in children and other long- term consequences that come with sedentary behaviors. Exploring the benefits of physical activity, the promotion of physical activity in schools, and the guidelines for physical activity will be very important in assessing whether the promotion counteracts the rise of obese children.

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The promotion of well -balanced physical activity programs in schools is very crucial due to the fact that physical activity has been found to prevent many diseases and because schools reach nearly all children for more than half of their waking days, implementing physical activity programs may have a great impact on physical activity becoming part of their daily lives (Cooper, Greenberg, Castelli, Barton, Martin, Morrow 2016). When children acquire dynamic exercising habits, they can grow to lead active and healthy lives as adults, increasing productivity along the way (Wamp 2009). Physical activity also aids in a childr’s ability to learn and increases productivity (Wamp 2009).

Schools are obesogenic environments but have the potential to promote and provide opportunities to meet the recommended daily minutes of physical activity (Castillo, Centeio, Nicksic 2013). With the combination of increased need to do well on standardized tests and the convenience of sedentary lifestyles, children now weight more and have a greater body mass index than their peers a generation earlier (Castillo, Centeio, Nicksic 2013). It is recommended that a quality physical education curriculum be the foundation of comprehensive opportunities for students to be physically active throughout the school day (Castillo, Centeio, Nicksic 2013). Quality physical education is characterized by: daily physical education (at least 150 minutes per week for elementary, 225 minutes per week for middle and high schools), curriculum that meets the National Standards for Physical Education, student assessment aligned with instruction, certified physical education teacher providing meaningful content through standards-based instruction, student- teacher ratio equivalent to that in the classroom context, and adequate equipment to promote maximum practice time (Avery, Brandt 2010). It is recommended that a quality physical education curriculum be the foundation of comprehensive opportunities for students to be physically active throughout the school day and that federal, state, and local policies require schools to provide these programs (Castillo, Centeio, Nicksic 2013).

A well-rounded physical activity program is very beneficial to the health of all individuals. If the physical activity guidelines are followed many long- term health benefits will follow. When children are participating in regular physical activity and their diet is well balanced, obesity is easily counteracted (Luisa 2016). Physical activity not only decreases the chances of becoming obese, it also helps maintain cardiorespiratory fitness and prevent diseases. Individuals who partake in physical activity regularly are less likely to develop a stroke, various types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and the loss of the ability to function (Blair 2009). Physical activity that is current, ongoing, and vigorous such as swimming, racket games, jogging, fast walking, and cycling has demonstrated substantial protection against heart attack in middle and early old ages individuals (Blair 2009). Individuals who participate in only light activity doesnt gain any protection from heart attacks (Blair 2009).

In order for physical activity to be beneficial there are certain guidelines individuals should follow. In the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008) recommends that youth engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, most of which should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Half of this amount (30 minutes) should be achieved during the school day (Avery, Brandt 2010). The Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of Nation proposed that all children engage in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, most of which is happening during school time (Castillo, Centeio, Nicksic 2013).


  1. Avery, Marybell, and Janet Brandt. “How Active are Your Students? Increasing Physical Activity in Schools.” Strategies 24.1 (2010): 34-5. ProQuest. 14 Sep. 2018
  2. Blair S.N., Morris J.N. Healthy Hearts and the Universal Benefits of Being Physically Active: Physical Activity and Health. Annuals of Epidemiology 19(4) (2009):253-256. ProQuest. 15 Sep. 2018
  3. Cooper, Kenneth H., et al. “Implementing Policies to Enhance Physical Education and Physical Activity in Schools.” Research quarterly for exercise and sport 87.2 (2016): 133-40. ProQuest. 14 Sep. 2018
  4. Darla M. Castelli, PhD, Erin E. Centeio, PhD, and Hildi M. Nicksic, MEd. Preparing Educators to Promote and Provide Physical Activity in Schools. (2013) American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine Vol 7, Issue 5, pp. 324 332
  5. Lu­sa Aires, Gustavo Silva, Clarice Martins, Elisa Marques, Maria Jo?o Lagoa, Jose Carlos Ribeiro, Carla Rego, Henrique Nascimento, Petronila Rocha Pereira, Alice Santos-Silva, Lus Belo & Jorge Mota (2016) Exercise intervention and cardiovascular risk factors in obese children. Comparison between obese youngsters taking part in a physical activity school-based programme with and without individualised diet counselling: the ACORDA project, Annals of Human Biology,43:3, 183-190, DOI: 10.3109/03014460.2015.1059889
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Physical Education In Schools. (2019, Jun 13). Retrieved April 1, 2023 , from

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