Though its invention was well into the 1820s, physical education is a powerful pedagogy that still is in effect for schools all around the world. In fact, it is mandated by the state of New Jersey, and similarly for others, that a student should take part in a physical education course for at least two hours each week as a part of the students graduation requirement (New Jersey Department of Education, 2018). Across the world, as well, similar standards can be measured; in Germany, schools are mandated to have at least three five hours of physical education classes per school week (World Health Organization, 2016).
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According to Shape America, a society of health and physical educators, one of the national standards for students taking part in any form of physical education program is to “develop physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity” (SHAPE America, 2014). Some educators argue that cuts in the time allotted for physical education programs in the the school day may allow students to have more time for academic classes and aid schools in the funding they receive from federal and state grants. On the other hand, the physical, mental, and social aspects that come along with being active throughout the school day may outweigh these academic viewpoints.
In many schools, the thirty to forty minute window in which students have physical education classes is the only means of exercise the child has for the particular day. In a website created by a school psychologist that has researched the effects physical education has on a student in school, Rachel Wise outlines that not only do these physical education classes offer obesity prevention, they promote healthy growth and development (Wise, 2017). These aspects are essential to students of all ages, as the adolescent body does not stop developing until the age of twenty-one. Adding onto this, according to a study published in 2017 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, among children aged two to nineteen, the obesity rate was at 18.5%– this number is significantly higher than what is was in 2001, only 5% (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017).
With this current information, scientists predict that the number of obesity in schoolchildren will only continue to increase. Exercise is familiarly a major component that is proven to greatly reduce the risk of childhood obesity, and if implemented early on in life, various cardiovascular diseases such as congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, or arrhythmia (Harvard T.H. School of Public Health, 2017). The goal for many of the physical education programs in America, and frankly throughout the world, is to keep students healthy while teaching valuable lessons. Physical education programs in schools are beneficial to students’ overall health;
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