How Common is Evidence-based State Physical Education Legislation? A Content Analysis

Introducing children to lifelong concepts of exercise and wellness through PE programs may not only improve currenthealth status, but help children learn to enjoy the benefits of a physically active lifestyle that can be transferred to adulthood. Currently, there is a growing consensus that policy-based approaches targeting the school environment, such as physical education (PE), may have the greatest level of impact on childhood obesity. The objectives of this study were three-fold: 1) to identify a comprehensive inventory of state PE legislation; 2) to compare and contrast the PE bills; and 3) to evaluate the PE bills on inclusion of evidence-based elements. We collected a list of bills introduced as state legislation between 2001- 2007. We analyzed bill content based on four evidence-based elements that included: required minutes in PE, specifications for moderate or vigorous activity in PE, having cetified PE teachers, and providing equipment or facilities for PE. Seven hundred eighty one bills were analyzed with 162 enacted. Of the 272 bills that contained at least one evidence-based element, 43 were enacted. Based on this analysis, we showed that PE is frequently introduced, yet the proportion of bills with evidence-based elements is low. Future research is needed to provide the types of evidence required for development of quality PE legislation.

 

PE Legislation Coding Tool

Click on the link to access the coding tool used to analyze state PE legislation.

Examination of Trends and Evidence-Based Elements in State Physical Education Legislation:  A Content Analysis

Click on the link to access the PE legislation article