Thursday, September 22, 2016

Secular Changes in Physical Education Attendance Among U.S. High School Students, YRBS 1991–2013

CDC 24/7 - Saving Lives, Protecting People, Saving Money., the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA) released “Secular Changes in Physical Education Attendance Among U.S. High School Students, YRBS 1991–2013.” This report can be found on the NPAPA website at

This report provides data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), which has monitored priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults among high school students biennially since 1991. This report focuses on trends over time in physical education participation.

Report’s Key Messages:

  • Between 1991 and 2013, U.S. high school students’ participation in school-based physical education classes remained stable, but at a level much lower than the national recommendation of daily physical education. Across the 22-year period, it was consistently observed that one-half of students did not attend physical education classes at the time they were surveyed.
  • The proportion of high school students attending physical education on a daily basis declined from 1991 to 1995 and, since then, has remained stable at approximately one-third of students nationwide.
  • Attendance in physical education classes decreases steadily from 9th to 12th grade. Although attendance in physical education was greatest among 9th grade students, that percentage declined from 75% to 64% between 1991 and 2013. However, during this period, there were increases in attendance by 11th and 12th grade students.
  • Across the 22-year period, consistently more male students than females students reported attending physical education classes, with the average percentages being 57% versus 49%.

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