The Challenge: Regular physical activity can reduce children’s risk of obesity and improve their classroom performance, but many schools provide few opportunities for students to be active.
Make an impact: Schools can provide excellent opportunities for children to be physically active, including through physical education, regular recess, and access to physical play and exercise spaces during non-school hours and in the summer.
What the findings are about: This synthesis summarizes the substantial and growing body of evidence about different ways to promote children’s physical activity in schools.
Key Findings and Recommendations:
Regularly scheduled physical education programs that include the use of standardized curricula, goals for active classes and staff development can result in children who are more physically active.
Schools can help increase students’ activity levels outside of physical education classes, such as through recess, classroom activity breaks, after-school programs, and joint-use agreements between schools and communities.
School environments should include safe equipment and multiple supervised facilities that encourage children to be physically active.
States should require schools to provide children with at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily.
Abbreviated fact sheets are available that highlight the research synthesis' main findings.
Ward D. School Policies on Physical Education and Physical Activity. A Research Synthesis. Princeton, NJ: Active Living Research, a National Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; October 2011. Available from: www.activelivingresearch.org.