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Promoting Student Exercise

Schools should play a major part in making sure that students take part in at least 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous exercise, the U.S. Institute of Medicine says.

A report issued in May by the Institute’s Committee on Physical Activity and Physical Education in the School Environment recommends that schools improve programs and policies for physical activity and physical education before, during and after school. 

“Schools are critical for the education and health of our children,” says Harold W. Kohl III, chair of the committee and a research professor at the University of Texas in the College of Education’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Education. “They already provide key services such as health screenings, immunizations and nutritious meals. Daily physical activity is as important to children’s health and development as these other health-related services, and providing opportunities for physical activity should be a priority for all schools, both through physical education and other options.”

The report urges the U.S. Department of Education to designate physical education as a core academic subject to draw attention and attract the resources necessary to enhance content, instruction and accountability.

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