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Historical perspective and current status of the physical education graduation requirement at American 4-year colleges and universities.

Authors
  • Cardinal, Bradley J
  • Sorensen, Spencer D
  • Cardinal, Marita K
Type
Published Article
Journal
Research quarterly for exercise and sport
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2012
Volume
83
Issue
4
Pages
503–512
Identifiers
PMID: 23367812
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study gives an overview of the history of required physical education in America's 4 year colleges and universities and provides an update on the requirement status. After randomly identifying 354 institutions, we searched their respective websites to determine whether physical education was a requirement to earn a baccalaureate degree. The major finding was that the physical education requirement declined from an all-time high of 97% in the 1920s and 1930s to an all-time low of 39.55% in 2010. Given society's ongoing health challenges and the important role of physical activity in maintaining health, this seems counterintuitive. It is also inconsistent with the National Physical Activity Plan (2010).

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