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Schools should provide opportunities for 60 minutes of daily physical activity to all students
Date:5/23/2013

WASHINGTON Given the implications for the overall health, development, and academic success of children, schools should play a primary role in ensuring that all students have opportunities to engage in at least 60 minutes per day of vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Recent estimates suggest that only about half of school-age children meet this evidence-based guideline for promoting better health and development. The report recommends that most daily physical activity occur during regular school hours in physical education classes, recess or breaks, and classroom exercises, with additional opportunities available through active commutes to and from school, before- and after-school programs, and participation in intramural or varsity sports.

"Schools are critical for the education and health of our children," said Harold W. Kohl III, professor of epidemiology and kinesiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health and chair of the committee that wrote the report. "They already provide key services such as health screenings, immunizations, and nutritious meals. Daily physical activity is as important to children's health and development as these other health-related services, and providing opportunities for physical activity should be a priority for all schools, both through physical education and other options."

The report calls on the U.S. Department of Education to designate physical education as a core academic subject to draw attention and attract the resources necessary to enhance content, instruction, and accountability. Although most states currently have laws addressing physical education requirements in schools, there are no consistent nationwide policies. The committee recommends that 30 minutes per day in elementary school and 45 minutes per day in middle and high schools be devoted to physical education, and students should spend at least half that
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Contact: Lauren Rugani
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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