Even one additional hour per week of a school physical education program for 5- and 6-year-olds can help decrease the incidence of weight problems, especially for girls. That's the conclusion of a recent research brief issued by the National Institute for Health Care Management Research and Educational Foundation, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington.
Kindergartners average 57 minutes a week in physical education classes, and that increases to 65 minutes in 1st grade, the brief says. It also points out that schools with high proportions of poor or minority students tend to have the least amount of physical education time.
The findings are based on data from the U. S. Department of Education's Early Childhood Longitudinal Study.
Vol. 24, Issue 02, Page 19Published in Print: September 8, 2004, as Physical Education