Physical Activity and Physical Education in the School Environment

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Education, Food and Nutrition
Board: Food and Nutrition Board

Activity Description

Obesity prevalence among children and adolescents in the U.S. is 17%, which is almost three times what is was in 1980. Children spend up to half their waking hours in school, placing schools in a unique position to support and encourage obesity prevention strategies like physical activity, physical education, and healthy eating among students.

In 2012, the IOM released the report Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation. It offers recommendations, strategies, and action steps that individually have potential to positively accelerate obesity prevention, and when combined, will create synergies that can further accelerate progress. Of the five main goals set forth in the report, two carry considerable potential to accelerate progress in obesity prevention through increased physical activity: Make Physical Activity an Integral and Routine Part of Life and Make Schools a National Focal Point for Obesity Prevention.

In this new IOM study, the committee will address these two goals in detail by reviewing the current status of physical activity and physical education in the school environment, as well as the influences of physical activity and physical education on the short- and long-term physical, cognitive and brain, and psychosocial health and development of children and adolescents. The committee will then, as appropriate, make recommendations regarding approaches for strengthening and improving programs and policies for physical activity and physical education in the school environment, including before, during, and after school.

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