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Passing on PE?: More than 1/3 of Calif. teens do not participate in physical education

PassingApproximately 1.3 million teens — more than a third (38 percent) of all adolescents enrolled in California public schools — do not participate in any school-based physical education classes, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.  

Research has shown that a lack of physical activity is associated with obesity, diabetes and other chronic conditions, while regular physical activity is associated with increased mental alertness and higher academic achievement.

”California teens don’t get enough exercise,” said Dr. Allison Diamant, a faculty associate with the Center and a UCLA associate professor of general internal medicine and health services research, who co-authored the policy brief, Adolescent Physical Education and Physical Activity in California

Cuts to physical education (PE) programs, as well as exemptions that allow high school students to skip up to two years of PE, have contributed to declining participation in these school-based programs, the brief’s authors noted. The study found, for example, that the proportion of teens participating in PE drops precipitously with age, from 95 percent at age 12 to just 23 percent at age 17.  

Using data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the authors found that only 42 percent of California teens report participating in PE on a daily basis. And more than 80 percent of all teens fail to meet the current federal recommendations for physical activity.  Read the policy brief.

Read the related articles:
O.C. ranks low in teen P.E. participation
UCLA report: Public schools don’t meet physical education standards
State’s students miss out on P.E.

Related Resources:
Teen Dietary Habits Related to their Parents


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