Physical Education's Role in Public Health: Steps Forward and Backward Over 20 Years and HOPE for the Future

Authors: Sallis, James F.; McKenzie, Thomas L.; Beets, Michael W.; Beighle, Aaron; Erwin, Heather; Lee, Sarah

Source: Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 1 June 2012, vol. 83, no. 2, pp. 125-135(11)


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The 1991 paper, “Physical Education's Role in Public Health” described the importance of physical education in addressing public health problems. On its 20th anniversary, this article reviews accomplishments in improving the health impact of physical education and identifies areas lacking progress. Major accomplishments include development of evidence-based programs, documentation of health and academic benefits of physical education, and acceptance of physical education as a public health resource. Additional work is needed to evaluate the uptake of evidence-based programs, improve national surveillance of physical education quantity and quality, establish stronger policies supporting active physical education, and achieve wide acceptance of public health goals within the physical education field. These opportunities constitute an agenda for actualizing the promise of Health-Optimizing Physical Education before the next 20-year anniversary.


Document Type: Short Communication


Publication date: June 1, 2012

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