Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that all PK-12 schools implement a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program.
Schools play an important role in public health, and the physical, mental, and social benefits of regular physical activity for youth are well documented. Leading public health, medical, and educational organizations, including NASPE, have made important physical activity recommendations for school-aged youth (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1997; Kaplan et al., 2005; NASBE, 2000; Pate et al. 2006; U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000). These recommendations are for children to accumulate at least 60 minutes of physical activity on all or most all days of the week. (CDC, 2001; CSMF/CSH, 2006; Kaplan et al.,2005; Pate et al.,2006; NASPE, 2004; Strong et al., 2005; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2004). In addition to physical activity recommendations, most of these agencies and organizations also include calls for schools to assume strong leadership roles in the education and promotion of physical activity among children (CDC, 1997; Kaplan et al., 2005; Pate et al., 2006; USDHHS, 1996; WHO, 2001). Conclusions drawn from the results of the 2006 School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include the need to implement a comprehensive approach at the state, district, and school levels to enhance physical education and physical activity in schools (Lee et al. 2007).
In 2004, federal legislation (PL 108-265) was passed which required all districts with federally funded school meal programs to develop and implement wellness policies by the beginning of the 2006-07 school year. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 directs school districts to set goals for physical activity, nutrition education, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to encourage student wellness. Furthermore, districts are required to engage a wide range of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Implementation of these wellness plans should result in an increase in school-based opportunities for physical activity.
A Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) encompasses physical activity programming before, during, and after the school day. NASPE recommends that a CSPAP include: quality physical education; school-based physical activity opportunities; school employee wellness and involvement; and family and community involvement.
Reprinted with the permission of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
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