Active Living Strategy #6: Require Physical Education In Schools

Our Healthier Communities Initiatives are built on the concept that local communities can work together to give all community members healthy choices and support the pursuit of healthy lifestyles.  More than 160 Ys are working in collaboration with community leaders to make changes in policies and the physical surroundings in those communities so that healthy living is within reach for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

Active Living Strategy #6: Require Physical Education In Schools

Kids need constructive physical activity in their school day. School-based physical education (PE) increases students' level of physical activity in school across all grade levels.


Evidence indicates that school-based physical education (PE) increases students’ level of physical activity in school across all grade levels. However, compliance with recommended physical activity guidelines varies across schools, often being higher in younger populations. A literature review documents beneficial effects of physical education on musculoskeletal health, cardiovascular health, adiposity in overweight youth, mental health, academic performance and bone health. Reduced classroom time due to PE has not been shown to have a negative impact on academic performance. There is a wealth of evaluated physical education curricula that could be readily utilized to increase physical activity in schools and thus potentially improve the health of young generations.


  1. Evenson, K.R., Ballard, K., Lee, G., & Ammerman, A. (2009). Implementation of a school-based state policy to increase physical activity. Journal of School Health, 79(5), 231–238.
  2. Pate, R.R., Freedson, P.S., Sallis, J.F., Taylor, W.C., Sirard, J., Trost, S.G., & Dowda, M. (2002). Compliance with physical activity guidelines: Prevalence in a population of children and youth. Annals of Epidemiology, 12(5), 303–308.
  3. Sallis, J.F., McKenzie, T.L., Alcaraz, J.E., Kolody, B., Faucette, N., & Hovell, M. (1997). The effects of a 2-year physical education program (SPARK) on physical activity and fitness in elementary school students. American Journal of Public Health, 87(8), 1328–1334.
  4. Strong, W.B., Malina, R.M., Blimkie, C.J., Daniels, S.R., Dishman, R.K., Gutin, B., Hergenroeder, A.C., Must, A., Nixon, P.A., Pivarnik, J.M., Rowland, T., Trost, S., & Trudeau, F. (2005). Evidence based physical activity for school-age youth. Journal of Pediatrics, 146(6).

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