How Far Has Physical Education Come In The Past 20 Years?

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From Your Health Journal…..”As I mentioned earlier today, I love the Education Week web site, as they have great / informative articles, and I always promote their site when I can, so please visit their web page (link provided below) to get some good ‘reads’ in. As many of you know, I am also a PE teacher, and always think it is imperative to discuss its importance in school. PE not only teaches children about healthy lifestyle, it enhances cognitive skills, social skills, and gives children a much needed break from academics. PE today is much more than just throwing out balls and giving students free play, it is a health related subject that prepares children for a future of good health. Sadly, it is just being cut back too much to be totally effective, along with cutbacks in recess. The demands after school prevent many children from getting any physical activity once they get home. Please visit the Education Week web site to read this complete article.”

From the article…..

In terms of health benefits, how far has physical education progressed over the past 20 years?

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the 1991 paper, “Physical Education’s Role in Public Health,” the paper’s original authors and a few colleagues looked back in the most recent issue of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport to see what still needs improvement.

In the 1991 paper, the authors encouraged physical educators to “adopt a new role and pursue a public-health goal for physical education.” This mainly entailed providing physical activity during phys. ed. class and teaching students how to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout their lives.

Much like the progress of Title IX, the authors find a half-full, half-empty tale of progress.

On the bright side, they praise recommendations and guidelines issued by many national health organizations, including the American Heart Association and American Academy of Pediatrics, regarding the promotion of physical activity. The authors also recognize the push toward more physical activity in phys. ed. classes, both for health reasons and in an attempt to improve academic performance.

The federal government earns some praise in the report, too, for having increased support of physical education over the past two decades. Specifically, the authors single out the Carol M. White Physical Education Program and Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! program.

There’s place for concern, however. The authors criticize No Child Left Behind for “creat[ing] an environment in which physical education, music, and art are viewed as ‘nonessential,’ ” leading to a reduction in physical education time in many schools over the past 10 years.

They also note that there’s still no widespread measure for evaluating the quality of physical education programs, despite standards developed by the National Association of Sport and Physical Education, the American Heart Association, and the Institute of Medicine. All the existing standards leave something to be desired, the authors suggest.

To read the full article…..Click here