Researchers are studying the amount of actual time spent in gym classes doing physical activities. They have found that on average students are spending about 16 minutes being active. They wanted to find out what was really going on in gym class and if it was worthwhile.
The research done by Cornell University is being headed by Professor John Cawley and is based on information from annual surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They surveyed 37,000 high schoolers on their exercise habits and took the results from 1999, 2001, and 2003.
As obesity rates have been increasing among children, many are questioning the schools' role in developing exercise and eating habits. To combat the rising obesity among school children many states are introducing new bills to increase or reform physical education.
A federal initiative called Healthy People 2010 has been implemented to improve physical fitness by improving curriculum and decreasing the amount of time that students waste being inactive during P.E.
The National Association of Sports and Physical Education suggests that, for middle and high school students, at least 45 minutes per day be spent on gym class although at most schools this goal isn't being accomplished. Physical Education class isn't considered a core class like math or reading so class time for P.E. is limited in the first place and the problem is compounded when time is wasted being inactive during class. The quality of P.E. is difficult to assess as well since there is no national standard. As of last year, only 15 states required student assessment in P.E.
Cornell University researched the idea of adding 200 minutes more of physical education per week and their results were that it would have very little effect on the amount of active time the students...