Report | November 3, 2016

Increasing Physical Activity in Schools

How physical education, classroom breaks, and structured recess reduce childhood obesity and increase military eligibility

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Healthy habits start in childhood, and schools can play an important role in providing opportunities for physical activity. By adolescence, 31 percent of youth are already overweight or obese. Yet both physical education (PE) and recess have declined in schools over the past decade, and more than two-thirds of children get less than 20 minutes of vigorous exercise daily.

In this report and factsheet, Mission Readiness outlines three strategies to increase physical activity in schools:

  1. High-quality physical education (PE)
  2. In-class physical activity breaks
  3. Structured recess

Research shows that having well-trained recess supervisors, utilizing low-cost equipment, and using painted markings for games like hopscotch can increase the time kids spend active during recess by up to 32 percent.


  1. Texas