-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Policies that dictate minimum
requirements for physical education and recess time in schools lead
to increased levels of physical activity among children, a new
Kids spend most of their waking hours in school, which makes
schools important locations for combating overweight and obesity in
children, the researchers from the University of Illinois at
Chicago noted in the report, published online Dec. 5 in the
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
The National Association of Sports and Physical Education and
the American Heart Association recommend that elementary students
be offered at least 150 minutes per week of physical education, but
only 20 percent of third graders in the United States were offered
this amount in the 2007-2008 school year, the researchers reported
in a journal news release.
In the study, Sandy Slater and colleagues examined the effects
of state and school-district level policies that require or
recommend minimum amounts of in-school physical activity and recess
time. They looked at data from 47 states, 690 districts and more
than 1,700 schools.
About 70 percent of the schools offered at least 20 minutes of
daily recess and 17.9 percent offered 150 minutes per week of
physical education. Most states (83 percent) had no daily recess
law and less than half had some kind of law addressing the
recommended 150 minutes per week of physical education.
Schools in states with policies encouraging recess were more
likely to provide 20 minutes of recess a day, but district policies
didn't appear to influence the amount of recess. The researchers
also found that schools that offered at least 150 minutes per week
of physical education were about 50 percent less likely to provide
the recommended 20 minutes per day of recess time.
Schools with predominately white students were more likely than
schools with higher numbers of other racial/ethnic groups to have
daily recess, and schools with the highest numbers of students
receiving free or subsidized lunches were less likely to have 20
minutes per day of recess.
The Nemours Foundation has more about
children and exercise.
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