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New Study Says Schools Should Play Primary Role In Boosting Students’ Physical Health

New Study Says Schools Should Play Primary Role in Boosting Students’ Physical Health

  • A new report issued today by the Institute of Medicine and developed by two University of Texas at Austin professors, says schools should play a key role in ensuring all students have the opportunity to engage in at least 60 minutes of vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity each day.
  • 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.
  • A growing body of evidence, including several studies by Castelli, suggests that increasing physical activity and fitness may improve academic performance — especially in mathematics and reading — and that the benefits of engaging in physical activity during the school day outweigh the benefits of exclusive use of classroom time for academic learning.
  • According to the report, ensuring equity in access to physical activity and physical education will require support from federal and state governments as well as state, district and local education administrators, the report says. School systems at every level, together with city planners and parent-teacher organizations, should consider physical activity in all policy decisions related to the school environment.

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