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The physical education component is one of the eight components in the Coordinated School Health Program model. It consists of a K-12 curriculum that provides instructions that promote lifelong safe physical activity. The curriculum is designed to develop basic movement skills, sports skills and physical fitness which would develop each student's optimum physical, emotional, mental, and social development. Examples of activity areas include: tumbling and gymnastics, aquatics, games, rhythms and dance, and enhance social and emotional abilities. Qualified and trained teachers teach the physical activities.



Young children and teens should be encouraged to select activities they enjoy, that also fit into their daily lives. These activities will be beneficial if they can be incorporated into their daily routines, and performed at a moderate pace. Here are some examples of moderate activities:

  • Walking two miles in 30 minutes, or running 1 1/2 miles in 15 minutes.

  • Bicycling five miles in 30 minutes or four miles in 15 minutes.

  • Dancing fast for 30 minutes, or jumping rope for 15 minutes.

  • Playing basketball for 15 to 20 minutes, or volleyball for 45 minutes.



Regular physical activity in young children and teens:

  • improves strength, endurance, and coordination

  • helps build healthy bones and muscles

  • helps control weight

  • increases self-esteem and confidence

  • reduces anxiety and stress

  • may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels

  • may promote maintenance of physical activity as young children and teens grow older



The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) believes that every student in our nation's schools, from kindergarten through grade 12, should have the opportunity to participate in quality physical education. It is the unique role of quality physical education programs to develop the health-related fitness, physical competence, and cognitive understanding about physical activity for all students so that they can adopt healthy and physically active lifestyles. Today's quality physical education programs are important because they provide learning experiences that meet the developmental needs of youngsters which help improve a child's mental alertness, academic performance, readiness to learn and enthusiasm for learning.

According to NASPE guidelines, a high quality physical education program includes the following components: opportunity to learn, meaningful content and appropriate instruction. Each of these areas is outlined in detail in NASPE's quality physical education (QPE) documents which range from the National Standards for Physical Education to Appropriate Practice Documents, Opportunity to Learn Documents and the Assessment Series. Books can be ordered online at www.aahperd.org/naspe or call 1-800-321-0789.

Opportunity to Learn:

  • Instructional periods totaling 150 minutes per week (elementary) and 225 minutes per week (middle and secondary school)
  • Qualified physical education specialist providing a developmentally appropriate program
  • Adequate equipment and facilities

Meaningful Content:

  • Instruction in a variety of motor skills that are designed to enhance the physical, mental, and social/emotional development of every child
  • Fitness education and assessment to help children understand, improve and/or maintain their physical well-being
  • Development of cognitive concepts about motor skill and fitness
  • Opportunities to improve their emerging social and cooperative skills and gain a multi-cultural perspective
  • Promotion of regular amounts of appropriate physical activity now and throughout life

Appropriate Instruction:

  • Full inclusion of all students
  • Maximum practice opportunities for class activities
  • Well-designed lessons that facilitate student learning
  • Out of school assignments that support learning and practice
  • No physical activity for punishment
  • Uses regular assessment to monitor and reinforce student learning



  • Almost half of young people aged 12-21, and more than a third of high school students do not participate in vigorous physical activity on a regular basis.

  • Seventy-two percent of 9th graders participate in vigorous physical activity on a regular basis, compared with only 55% of 12th graders.

  • Daily participation in physical education classes by high school students dropped from 42% in 1991 to 25% in 1995.

  • The time students spend being active in physical education classes is decreasing; among high school students enrolled in a physical education class, the percentage who were active for at least 20 minutes during an average class dropped from 81% in 1991 to 70% in 1995.



  • The percentage of young people who are overweight has more than doubled in the past 30 years.

  • Inactivity and poor diet cause at least 300,000 deaths a year in the U.S. Tobacco is the only other factor that causes more preventable deaths.

  • Adults who are less active are at greater risk on dying of heart disease and developing diabetes, colon cancer, and high blood pressure.



  • Emphasize participation in physical activities that are enjoyable and easily done throughout life.

  • Offer a diverse range of noncompetitive and competitive activities that are appropriate for different ages and abilities.

  • Give young people the skills and confidence they need to be physically active.

  • Promote physical activity through all components of a coordinated school health program, and develop links between school and community programs.




1. Establish policies that promote enjoyable lifelong physical activity

  • Schools should require daily physical education and comprehensive health education (including lessons on physical activity) in grades K to 12.

  • Schools and community organizations should provide adequate funding, equipment, and supervision for programs that meet the needs and interests of all students.

2. Environment

  • Provide physical and social environments that encourage and enable young people to engage in safe and enjoyable physical activity.

  • Provide access to safe spaces and facilities, and implement measure to prevent activity-related injuries and illnesses.

  • Provide school time, such as recess, for unstructured physical activity, such as jumping rope.

  • Discourage the use or withholding of physical activity as punishment.

  • Provide health promotion programs for school faculty and staff.

3. Physical Education Curricula and Instruction

Implement sequential physical education curricula and instruction in grades K to 12 that:

  • Emphasize enjoyable participation in lifetime physical activities such as walking and dancing, not just competitive sports.

  • Help students develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to adopt and maintain a physically active lifestyle.

  • Follow the National Standards for Physical Education.

  • Keep students active for most of class time.

4. Health Education Curricula and Instruction

Implement health education curricula that:

  • Feature active learning strategies and follow the National Health Education Standards.

  • Help students develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

5. Extracurricular Activities

Provide extracurricular physical activity programs that offer diverse, developmentally appropriate activities - - noncompetitive and competitive - - for all students.

6. Family Involvement

Encourage parents and guardians to support their children's participation in physical activity, to be physically active role models, and to include physical activity in family events.

7. Training

Provide training to enable teachers, coaches, recreation and health care staff, and other school and community personnel to promote enjoyable, lifelong physical activity to young people.

8. Health Services

Assess the physical activity patterns of young people, refer them to appropriate physical activity programs, and advocate for physical activity instruction and programs for young people.

9. Community Programs

Provide a range of developmentally appropriate community sports and recreation programs that are attractive to all young people.

10. Evaluation

Regularly evaluate physical activity instruction, programs, and facilities.





















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