Only six states nationwide require the recommended 150 minutes of elementary school-based physical education, according to a study by University of Georgia kinesiology professor Bryan McCullick.
For older students, two states mandate the appropriate amount of physical education instruction for middle school, and none require adequate instruction at the high school level. Guidelines are set by the National Association of Sport and Physical Education.
McCullick’s study examined the role of federal courts in interpreting ambiguous physical education statues.
While public health reforms have emphasized school-based physical education as a means of combatting the childhood obesity epidemic, the study’s results found thatcourts typically do not interfere with state legislative decisions concerning curriculum.
“Findings indicated that statutes were written in a manner that did not explicitly mandate school-based physical education but rather recommended or suggested it,” McCullick wrote in his report, which was published in the June issue of the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education.
Many schools are reducing or eliminating their physical education programs due tobudget cuts, combined with a greater emphasis on academic performance.