Report: Physical Education Should be 'Core Academic Subject'

Daily exercise for school children is so important that physical education should be made a "core academic subject," says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

University of Arizona professor Scott Going, a co-author of the report, says that physical health is so important to the overall health, development and academic success for children that schools should play a primary role in ensuring an adequate level of activity.

"We need to make physical education a core subject, just like math and English and science," says Going, professor of nutritional sciences and interim head of the department of nutritional sciences. "We felt so strongly that it's important for kids to get it for their physical health, for their mental health, that they should get it at school so that all kids have a chance of meeting the recommendation."

The report calls on the U.S. Department of Education to craft a consistent nationwide policy to help reverse the trend since 2001's No Child Left Behind Act that has had schools cutting time from recess and physical education to focus on standardized tests.

"The intention of the study is to analyze the evidence and make a very clear recommendation that hopefully influences policy," Going says. "Our great hope is that we would create this habit in kids, and they'd want to sustain it and receive all the health benefits that physical activity has to offer."

The report, which its authors hope will influence education policy at the local as well as national level, says students should have opportunities to engage in at least 60 minutes per day of vigorous or moderate-intensity physical. Taking a broad view of the school day, the report's authors include before- and after-school programs like active transportation, sports and clubs as a way to boost activity.

Read the rest of this June 21, 2013 UANews article at the link below.

Date released: 
Jun 25 2013