The Shape of the Nation Report provides a current picture of physical education (PE) in the American education system. Incremental improvements have been made in the last few years in the number of states that now require PE (17% increase) and student assessment in PE (26% increase). However, the Report shows that more states now allow waivers and exemptions from PE classes (77% increase) and no progress has been made in providing daily physical education in all grades K-12.

    • The Shape of Physical Education in 2010:

 

  • Only five states require physical education in every grade K-12.

 

 

  • Only one state aligns with the nationally recommended 150 minutes per week of PE in elementary school and 225 minutes per week in middle and high school.

 

 

  • More than half of all states (32) permit waivers and/or exemptions for students from taking PE, a 77% increase from 2006.

 

 

  • Forty-eight states (94%) have their own state standards for physical education, but only 34 states (67%) require local districts to comply or align with these standards.

 

 

  • Only 19 states (37%) require some form of student assess ment in physical education.

 

 

  • Fewer states (14 vs. 22 in 2006) require physical education grades to be included in students’ grade point averages.

 

 

  • Only 13 states (25%) require schools to measure Body Mass Index (BMI) and/or height and weight for each student.

 

 

At a time when the First Lady is highlighting the obesity epidemic among our youth and the role that schools can play, physical education should be given a priority in public and education policy.

Download the full 2010 Shape of the Nation Report: Status of Physical Education in the USA from NASPE and the American Heart Association. Also, be sure to check out the Executive Summary and Table of Contents.