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Entries in Gym Class (1)

Wednesday
Dec152010

More Students Opting Out of Phys Ed Classes Despite Obesity Epidemic

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Physical education advocates say more and more students are being allowed to opt out of gym class in favor of activities like marching band, ROTC, even an extra art class, despite a massive push by doctors, nutritionists and the first lady to get children more active.

Students in some school districts are even allowed to complete their physical education requirements online. They promise to exercise on their own time and just click their way through to course completion.

"This is a serious issue," said Keith Ayoob, director of the nutrition clinic at the Rose F. Kennedy Center in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. "If they don't get anything in school they're probably not going to get it."

Being obese and overweight is the number-one health problem in children, Ayoob said.  A study this year in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that obese children were twice as likely to die of disease by age 55.

According to the "Shape of the Nation" report, released in June by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), 22 states allow required physical education credits to be completed online.  Only five states -- Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Vermont -- require PE at every grade level.

NASPE, along with the American Heart Association, recommend that students get 30 minutes per day of physical education instruction for elementary school children and 45 minutes per day for middle and high school children.

Only one state, Alabama, follows the guidelines at each school level, the NASPE reported.

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