UCSF LogoIt is said that physical exercise is extremely important for our health and well being. Now, bearing this topic in mind, a study from University of California, San Francisco and UC Berkeley claims that school-based physical education may play a major function in reducing obesity and enhancing fitness among teenagers from low-income communities.

The study recognizes openings for youth to develop their health based on regular daily activities. They discovered that frequent involvement in PE class could be considerably linked to better cardiovascular fitness and lower body mass index.

First author Kristine Madsen, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UCSF Children’s Hospital, commented, “We took an incredibly comprehensive look at all of the opportunities kids have throughout their day to engage in physical activity and determined which are the most strongly linked to fitness and weight status. Obesity continues to be a major public health concern, particularly in low-income communities, so it is imperative that we develop targeted interventions to improve the health of at-risk youth.”

Around 9,268 seventh- and ninth-grade students were examined by Madsen and her colleagues. This survey was conducted in roughly 19 racially and culturally varied public schools in low-income communities all over California.

Students replied to questions in secret concerning their stage of participation in numerous every day physical activities, counting PE class, walking to and from school and playing on sports teams. They also had to rank how much they liked PE and estimated the quantity of time they used in exercising during PE class. A supplementary survey question apparently dealt whether students frequently bought food from snack carts, fast food restaurants or stores on their way to and from school.

Responses acquired through the survey were apparently then connected to every school’s outcomes from the state-mandated Fitnessgram, a yearly evaluation of students’ fitness levels. The experts wanted to verify which physical activities had a considerable influence on weight and cardiovascular health.

The scientists discovered that being immersed in atleast 20 minutes of exercise during PE class was said to be noticeably linked to both shorter mile times and lesser body mass index scores. In addition, as the students’ accounted levels of enjoyment of PE augmented, their mile times apparently reduced.

Madsen remarked, “PE was by far the most significant predictor of students’ fitness and was the only variable associated with improved weight status. I think this shows that we need to increase the importance of physical education in schools and set up tougher standards in the same way we set up tough standards around academic performance.”

Supposedly the data also exhibited an important link between walking to school and shorter mile times; nevertheless, walking to school apparently also was drastically connected to higher body mass index. The experts mentioned that this discovery was not astonishing, due to the fact that those students who walked to school supposedly had more chances to purchase food while traveling.

Madsen quoted, “The most affordable food options in low-income neighborhoods tend to be unhealthy, so it is not surprising that students who purchase more food on their way to and from school are more likely to be overweight. We absolutely need to work with local vendors in these communities to improve the food environment and create healthy zones in the vicinity of schools.”

Madesn is of the opinion that further study ought to aim to recognize the detailed issues that add to students’ enjoyment of PE, so that curricula could be designed to develop the quality of classes and to attain superior levels of physical exertion.

The study appears in the November 2009 issue of the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.