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Exercise in Schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that, in 2012, under 25% of youth aged 12–15 achieved the recommended 60 minutes of activity per day. A 2015 study finds that most of the exercise kids get takes place at school, but the study says there is plenty of room for improvement, given how much time they spend on campus.

The purpose of the study, published in Pediatrics (2015; pii: peds.2015-2430), was to learn where kids are most active—at school, near school, at home or near home. Researchers gave accelerometers and global positioning system devices to 549 adolescents aged 12–16. Data was collected from the devices for about a week. The data showed that the subjects spent about 42% of their time at school, 28% at home, 13% in their neighborhoods and the rest in other locations. Of all physical activity, 42% happened at school, 18.7% at home, 18.3% in other nonhome, nonschool locations and 20.6% near school or home. Though the majority of activity happened at school, this was also where students spent most time inactive. They were less likely to be sedentary when neither at home nor at school. Because of this, the researchers posited that encouraging kids to spend more time out and about in neighborhoods could improve activity levels.

“Increasing youth physical activity to support metabolic health requires strategies for increasing use of physical activity-supportive locations (e.g., neighborhoods) and environmental and program improvements in unsupportive locations (e.g., schools, homes),” the authors stated.

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