However, fewer than 20 percent of third grade students in the United States were offered this amount during the 2007-2008 school year." Sandy J. D., and colleagues with the University of Illinois at Chicago, examined the association between state and local school district-level policies requiring or recommending minimum requirements for in-school physical activity and the odds that elementary schools within those states and districts meet the levels of physical activity recommended, with an emphasis on physical education and recess.

The authors collected data on existing state PE and recess-related laws and collected data at the local school level through mail-back surveys that included questions on the number of days per week and number of minutes for which PE class was scheduled during a typical week for a third grade student.

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CHICAGO - State and school district-level policies mandating minimum requirements for in-school physical education and recess time are associated with increased odds of schools in those states and districts meeting physical activity recommendations for students, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"By mandating physical education or recess, policy makers can effectively increase school-based physical activity opportunities for youth." (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc. H., of the University of California, San Francisco writes, "as a result of the current focus on reversing the obesity epidemic, the benefits of increased physical activity are becoming more widely discussed. H., call Juliana Bunim at 415-476-8810 or e-mail [email protected] are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to Eurek Alert!

Editorial: Promoting the Health of Our Youth In an accompanying editorial, Kristine Madsen, M. What is not discussed is that lack of physical activity may be a far greater public health problem than obesity." Dr. by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the Eurek Alert system.

Madsen notes that one of the barriers to the adoption of laws and policies to increase school-day physical activity is funding. D., call Sherri Mc Ginnis González at 312-996-8277 or e-mail [email protected]

However, she also notes that, "there is an underused funding solution that would promote children's nutrition and at the same time provide needed resources to support adoption of exemplary nutrition and physical activity standards and programs: the taxation of highly sweetened beverages and nutrient-poor junk food." "One concerning finding from the Slater et al study is that recess and PE can compete with each other for time in the school day; schools that offered more time in recess offered less time in PE, and vice versa," writes Dr. "While schools appear to use PE and recess somewhat interchangeably, PE and recess make unique and separate contributions." "The solution is not limited to the local, state or national level, but rather, the solution rests with decision makers at each level," Dr. "We must work together to advocate for our nation's greatest resource - our youth." org.) Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including author affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Schools in states with policies encouraging daily recess had higher odds of having 20 minutes of recess daily, however district policies were not significantly associated with school-level recess practices.

The authors also found that adequate physical education time was inversely associated with recess, with schools offering at least 150 minutes/week of physical education being 50 percent less likely to meet recommendations on recess time.

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"The national recommendation for school physical education [PE] – endorsed by the National Association of Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) and the American Heart Association – is that elementary school students be offered at least 150 minutes/week of PE.