More Gym Class Not the Answer for Overweight Kids

NOVEMBER 01, 2006
Susan Farley

A study published in a recent issue of Education Next journal showed that an increase in the amount of time kids spend in gym class had no effect on activity levels and weight gain. According to the report, the percentage of overweight adolescents has increased from 4.5% in the 1960s to 15.5% today. Experts felt that statistic was due to the lack of time dedicated to physical education (PE), and state legislators responded by requiring students to spend more time in PE.

Researchers reviewed data on 44,164 students for the years 1999, 2001, and 2003 and found that PE requirements had no effect on the students' activity levels, nor any effect on weight control. The study authors are concerned that "states will think they've addressed the issue and then move on to something else."

Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.