New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 18A:35-7) requires that all students in grades one through twelve participate in 150 minutes per week of health education and physical education throughout each school year. It is a local district decision as to what percentage of instructional time addresses each discipline. Schools utilize multiple strategies to comply with the state requirement. Although the majority of schools are technically in compliance with the time requirements, the quality of instruction is compromised due to the varied providers and environments implemented.
The National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that students in elementary school participate in at least 150 minutes of Physical Education weekly and students in middle and high school participate in at least 225 minutes weekly to ensure regular participation in physical activity and education to promote healthy lifestyles.
The American Association of Health Education (AAHE) recommends a minimum of 50 hours per school year of Health Education instruction in order to be effective.
- The amount of instructional time devoted to health education and physical education significantly decreases incrementally from high school through elementary school.
- Daily Physical Education throughout the school year is generally not provided at any grade level.
- Instructional time devoted to health education is less than 50 hours per year in all grade levels.
Figure 1.1a Total Number of Hours of Physical Education Instruction Per Year
Table 1.1 Amount of Time Devoted to Physical Education Instruction at each Grade Level Clusters
Figure 1.2 Total Number of Hours of Health Education Instruction Per Year
Table 1.2 Amount of Time Devoted to Health Education Instruction at each Grade Level Clusters
THE CALL TO ACTION
NJAHPERD recommends quality physical education for all grade levels, taught by certified health & physical education specialists, as well as opportunities for physical activity throughout the school day.
Through partnership efforts with educational and public health organizations and agencies, parents, school administrators, state agencies, legislative action and other stakeholders, NJAHPERD is committed to providing students with quality health and physical education programs.
NJAHPERD supports the American Association of Health Education (AAHE) recommendation for 50 hours per year, per grade level for health instruction. Advocacy initiatives are being developed to address this issue.