(WTVM) - Schools may want to consider beefing up their physical education programs in addition to trimming down their lunch menus to help fight childhood obesity.
Bryan McCullick, kinesiology professor at the University of Georgia, recently published a study that examines whether or not schools nationwide are supplying adequate time for physical education.
The majority of them, he reports, are coming up short.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and adolescents should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.
Only six states implemented the recommended 150 minutes of gym time per week, or 30 minutes daily, for elementary school students. Two states employ the right amount of P.E. instruction for middle school, and none have strong enough regulations at the high school level.
His study, which can be found in the June issue of the Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, also examines the role of federal courts in interpreting ambiguous education statutes.
Even though public health reforms have emphasized P.E. to help combat childhood obesity, the study's results found that courts usually do not interfere with state legislative decisions concerning curriculum.
"Findings indicated that statutes were written in a manner that did not explicitly mandate school-based physical education but rather recommended or suggested it," he writes.
McCullick said many schools may be cutting down their physical education programs because of budget cuts and a greater emphasis on academic performance.