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Adolescent Physical Education and Physical Activity in California

May 1, 2011

Policy Brief

Authors: Allison L. Diamant, MD, MSHS, Susan H. Babey, PhD, Joelle Wolstein, PhD, MPP, MA

This policy brief examines teen participation in school physical education and finds that in California, more than 1.3 million adolescents (38%) do not participate in physical education (PE) at school, and this rate increases dramatically with age, from just 5% at age 12 to 77% at age 17. In addition, only 19% of teens meet current physical activity recommendations. The authors note that participation in PE at school is associated with more overall physical activity and recommend policies that promote more opportunities for physical activity, including those that help schools meet or exceed current PE requirements.

This policy brief is supported by a grant from The California Endowment.

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