States Severely Lacking Key Physical Education Mandates That Can Help Address the Childhood Obesity Epidemic

Jun 02, 2010, 15:00 ET from American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)

RESTON, Va., June 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Shape of the Nation Report: Status of Physical Education in the USA released today from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the American Heart Association (AHA), shows that while the majority of states mandate physical education, there are two significant inadequacies: time requirements and exemptions/waivers. Given the recent increased attention on childhood obesity prevention initiatives, legislators and school policy-makers can and should be part of the solution by correcting these inadequacies in physical education policies.

The good news is that the majority of states mandate that students must take physical education. However, a major loophole exists in over half of all states. Thirty-two states permit school districts or schools to allow substitution of other activities for required physical education credit. Thirty states allow exemptions/waivers for physical education. Other key findings include:

  • Only five states (Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Vermont) require physical education in every grade level.
  • Forty-eight states have their own state standards for physical education, but only 34 states require local districts to comply or align with these standards.
  • Only 19 states require some form of student assessment in physical education.
  • Forty-three percent of states allow required physical education credits to be earned through online physical education courses.
  • Fewer states (14 vs. 22 in 2006) require physical education grades to be included in students' grade point averages.
  • Thirteen states require schools to measure Body Mass Index and/or height and weight for each student.

For the report and recommendations visit:


The preeminent national authority on physical education and a recognized leader in sport and physical activity, NASPE is a non-profit professional membership association that sets the standard for practice in physical education and sport. NASPE's 15,000 members include: K-12 physical education teachers, coaches, administrators, researchers, and college/university faculty who prepare professionals in these areas. NASPE seeks to enhance knowledge, improve professional practice, and increase support for high-quality physical education, sport and physical activity programs. It is the largest of the five national associations that make up the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (AAHPERD).  For more information, visit  

SOURCE American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)