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States Drop the Ball on Physical Education

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States Drop the Ball on Physical Education

Students benefit greatly from physical education, but states are not doing enough to ensure that children are active and fit.

Only 19 states set a minimum amount of time for elementary students to participate in physical education, according to 2016 Shape of the Nation data recently released by the Society of Health and Physical Educators and Voices for Healthy Kids (SHAPE).

“The benefits of physical education ring clear as a school bell,” says Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO. “With effective physical education, we can keep kids’ hearts healthy and their minds in gear to do their best at school every day.”

In some schools, physical education is not required at all. The study reported that “more than half of states (62%) permit school districts or schools to allow students to substitute other activities for their required physical education credit.”

Many states also reported allowing physical activity to be withheld as a punishment. In some cases, recess was revoked to punish students for poor behavior or performance.

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