Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School Institute of Medicine

This 2013 Institute of Medicine report is based on work by a committee of experts assembled at the request of the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation due to the disturbing trends of increased sedentary lifestyles and decreased health metrics among US children and youth.

  • Estimates show that only about half of youth meet the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans’ recommendation (for children and youth of at least 60 minutes of daily vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity.
  • This report recommends numerous strategies based on a “whole of school” approach to incorporate physical activity throughout the school day to include active transportation to and from schools.
  • Conclusion:  Schools have historically been central in supporting the well-being of youth by providing health screenings, immunizations, and nutrition programs and also for training them for lifelong learning. It follows, then, that schools can and should play a major role in efforts to make children and adolescents more active—putting them on a track toward better health and improved performance in their classes and beyond. 
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