Report | December 8, 2015

Quality PE in Schools Leads to a Healthy Life

Physical education makes children smarter, happier and healthier while making America more competitive

In less than two generations, physical activity has dropped by 40 percent among adults in the US. Now, close to 75 percent of youth report that they don’t get the 60 minutes of daily physical activity recommended by experts. Some scholars have called the inactivity epidemic “one of the most important public health problems of the 21st century.”

As a result, more and more kids aren’t getting a shot at a healthy future. Moreover, this crisis is taking a toll on America’s future competitiveness, with physical inactivity already damaging our economy, our national security, and our healthcare system.

Quality physical education builds healthier bodies and healthier minds. But, more than that, it teaches children to embrace physical activity at a young age and to remain active throughout their lives.

Tamika Catchings, Olympic Gold Medalist, NCAA and WNBA Champion

While there are many ways to increase kids’ physical activity, this report focuses on the importance of physical education in schools. Physical education impacts all children, and mounting evidence shows that high-quality programs can directly impact students’ fitness, weight, and even their academic performance. Yet physical education programs are currently absent from many schools, and limited in most others.

Making quality physical education programs a regular part of children’s education will not only strengthen our nation, but also help the next generation of Americans compete in life.


  1. Tennessee