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School Based Physical Education
Working with Schools to Increase Physical Activity Among Children and Adolescents in Physical Education Classes

This Action Guide provides information on the resources and key steps to work with schools to increase physical activity among children and adolescents in physical education classes. Physical education (PE) classes can be enhanced by changing curricula, teaching practices, or policies to increase levels of physical activity and improve physical fitness. PE classes are important in helping students develop the knowledge, attitudes, motor and behavioral skills, and confidence to adopt and maintain physically active lifestyles. 

The childhood overweight epidemic is helping to shift the focus of PE classes from traditional sports toward health and physical activity, particularly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Health authorities recommend that children and adolescents engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on most or all days, but many fall short of this goal. Although most physical activity may occur outside the school, increasing levels of physical activity in PE classes helps children and adolescents to meet the recommendation, particularly among those with few community opportunities for physical activity. Current school health initiatives such as local wellness policies and coordinated school health programs can support more active PE classes.


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