Aetna
Womens Health
.
Children's Health Home
Womens Health Home
.
.
.
.
.
.
Childrens Health
.
Aetna Home
.
Contact Us
.
Help
.
gifAWH_print
.
Physical Activity and Schools

Physical Activity Among School-Aged Children

A 2006 national survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assessed school health policies and programs at the state, district, school and classroom. It found that:

  • The percentage of states that provided funding for staff development or offered staff development on physical activity and fitness to those who teach health education increased from 68.8% in 2000 to 82.4% in 2006.


  • The percentage of districts that provided funding for staff development or offered staff development on physical activity and fitness to those who teach health education increased from 43.3% in 2000 to 75.3% in 2006.


  • 96.8% of elementary schools provided regularly scheduled recess for students in at least 1 grade. Among these schools, students were scheduled to have recess an average of 4.9 days per week for an average of 30.2 minutes per day.


  • 79.1% of elementary schools provided daily recess for students in all grades in the school.


  • 48.4% of schools offered intramural activities or physical activity clubs to students, and 22.9% of these schools provided transportation home for students participating in these activities or clubs.


  • The percentage of schools with intramural activities or physical activity clubs that required students to pay a fee for these activities increased from 23.0% in 2000 to 35.0% in 2006.


  • 77.0% of middle schools and 91.3% of high schools offered students opportunities to participate in at least one interscholastic sport, and 29.1% of these schools provided transportation home for participating students.


  • Outside of school hours or when school was not in session, children and adolescents used the school’s physical activity or athletic facilities for community-sponsored sports teams in 68.9% of schools, for supervised "open-gym" or "free-play" in 40.3% of schools, and for community-sponsored classes or lessons (e.g., tennis or gymnastics) in 33.3% of schools.
Physical Education Standards and Guidelines In Schools
  • 69.3% of elementary schools, 83.9% of middle schools, and 95.2% of high schools required physical education.


  • Among schools that required physical education, 20.8% of elementary schools, 22.7% of middle schools, and 30.9% of high schools allowed students to be exempted from physical education requirements for at least one of the following reasons: high physical competency test score, participation in community service activities, participation in community sports activities, and participation in school activities other than sports (e.g., band or chorus).


  • 3.8% of elementary schools, 7.9% of middle schools, and 2.1% of high schools provided daily physical education or its equivalent (150 minutes per week in elementary schools; 225 minutes per week in middle schools and high schools) for the entire school year (36 weeks) for students in all grades in the school.


  • 13.7% of elementary schools, 15.2% of middle schools, and 3.0% of high schools provided physical education at least 3 days per week or its equivalent for the entire school year for students in all grades in the school.


  • 68.1% of schools that required physical education taught dodgeball or bombardment, and more than half of elementary schools that required physical education taught king of the hill or steal the flag, elimination tag, and duck duck goose.


  • The percentage of states that required or encouraged districts or schools to follow standards or guidelines based on the National Standards for Physical Education increased from 59.2% in 2000 to 76.0% in 2006.


  • Among the 78.3% of schools that required physical education, 36.0% had a maximum allowable student-to-teacher ratio for required physical education. The median maximum allowable ratio among these schools was 29.6 students per teacher.


  • 84.2% of districts required newly hired elementary school physical education teachers to be certified, licensed, or endorsed by the state to teach physical education, 86.5% had this requirement at the middle school level, and 92.6% at the high school level.


  • In 80.1% of elementary schools, physical education was taught only by a physical education teacher or specialist, and in 73.3% of middle schools and 66.3% of high schools, physical education was taught only by a physical education teacher.
Last updated October 13, 2008




.