children who are physically active during the school
day perform better in school than those who are
students face greater pressures to perform at a
higher level and are expected to take higher-level
classes. With all these added pressures and demands,
students are experiencing higher levels of stress
and an increase of health problems such as obesity.
Because schools are placing more emphasis on learning,
many of the “extra” programs, such as physical education,
are being reduced. As a result of the reduction
in physical education classes, the number of overweight
children has been increasing. In the state of Delaware
alone, about 25% of the students are considered
to be overweight. For this reason, schools should
be placing more emphasis on increasing physical
education instead of decreasing it. If the ultimate
goal is to increase academic performance, then physical
education should be included as a critical part
of a curriculum.
Throughout history, physical education has played
an important role in both education and society.
The data state that students who are physically
fit perform better academically. Those who are physically
active have a greater potential to learn. Research
has shown that cognitive performance is improved
by aerobic activity. There is strong evidence that
students will perform better in school if they are
Student surveys were given to 171 students who
were enrolled in physical education class during
their sophomore or junior year. A two-week teacher
observation was performed on twenty randomly selected
students. A GPA (grade point average) analysis was
performed to see if students who were enrolled in
physical education during a given semester had a
higher GPA compared to the semester when they were
not enrolled in physical education class.
showed that of the 171 students surveyed, ninety-two
stated a positive response toward physical fitness.
Many students noted that after physical education
class, they were more alert and were able to concentrate
more in their other classes. The teachers had favorable
responses about their students’ behavior and actions
after they had participated in physical education
class. The GPA analysis showed a positive relationship
between physical activity and academic achievement.
Of the 171 students whose GPAs were analyzed, eightyeight
had higher GPAs during the semester in which they
were enrolled in physical education class than during
the semester they were not.
- Delaware policy makers should consider requiring
all students to take physical education class
during every semester of the high school career.
- Delaware should consider adopting new state
physical education standards that increase student
fitness levels and teach students how to sustain
a healthful lifestyle through a variety of activities.