May 16, 2016

2016 Shape of the Nation™ Report: Three Surprising Facts, and Five Benefits of Physical Activity

SHAPE America recently released the 2016 Shape of the Nation™ Report. The report details the amount of physical activity, physical education and funding appropriated for related programs across the United States. Here's what we think you should know:

All 50 states have set standards for physical education programs.

Only Oregon and the District of Columbia meet the national recommendations for weekly PE time at both elementary and middle school levels.

40 states allow schools to withhold physical activity as a form of punishment.

Providing physical education and regular physical activity in school is important. Here are some of the benefits:

  1. Active kids learn better.
  2. PE programs teach lifelong skills to stay healthy.
  3. PE addresses the needs of the whole child, exercising body and mind
  4. Active, fit children consistently outperform less active, unfit students in both the short and long-term.
  5. Active children demonstrate better classroom behavior, greater ability to focus and lower rates of absenteeism.

Conclusion: Physical education and physical activity programs are essential in the formative growth of children and adolescents, but there is a large disparity in state requirements and implementation, affecting children’s ability to engage in and benefit from these programs. Physical education improves student wellness and academic outcomes, develops life skills that shape the whole person, encourages smart choices and cultivates a healthful lifestyle. Physical education and physical activity in schools may be the best hope for the shape of our nation.

Download 2016 Shape of the Nation™ Report from SHAPE America