Physical Activity and Physical Education in Schools -- IOM Report Release May 23

Extensive scientific evidence demonstrates that regular physical activity promotes growth and development in young people, yet opportunities for physical activity have declined for children and adolescents.  Recent estimates suggest that only about half of youths in the U.S. meet the recommended guidelines for daily physical activity.

Since children and adolescents spend a majority of their time in the school environment, what role could schools play in increasing physical activity among youth?  Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School, a new report from the Institute of Medicine, considers approaches for promoting physical activity before, during, and after school, and reviews the current evidence on the effect of physical education and physical activity on the short- and long-term physical, mental, and cognitive health and development of children.  The report also recommends actions at the federal, state, and local levels to strengthen programs and policies for improving physical activity in schools.


Advance copies of the report will be available to reporters only beginning at noon EDT Wednesday, May 22.  The report is embargoed and not for public release before 10 a.m. EDT Thursday, May 23.  To obtain an embargoed copy, contact the National Academies’ Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail

Members of the committee will discuss the report’s findings and recommendations and take questions at a public briefing beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 23, in Room 100 of the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St., N.W.  Those who cannot attend in person may listen via webcast at  More information and registration is available at