Since children and teens spend an abundance of their waking hours in school or on school grounds, the report suggests that this “puts schools in a unique position to support students in getting optimum physical activity, eating healthily, and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.”
The Institute of Medicinesuggests that all students should have opportunities to get 60 minutes of physical activity on a daily basis while at school, which aligns with the physical activity recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Outside of traditional physical education classes, the report suggests giving students in-class physical activity breaks, ensuring recesses remain high-activity, and creating safe pathways for students to walk to school.
Currently, only 4 percent of elementary schools, 8 percent of middle schools, and 2 percent of high schools provide daily physical education, according to the report.
Beyond the physical-activity-in-school suggestion, the institute also recommends that schools leave their playground equipment open and accessible to students outside of school hours, and that K-12 students receive at least 20 hours of lessons about food and nutrition each school year. On average, students only receive about 4-6 hours of nutrition education as of now, according to the report.