Jan 21, 2013 6:58 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

P.E. class: A thing of the past?

Do you remember the last time you were required to take a physical education class? According to a new study in the journal Research Quarterly for Exercise and Support, taking P.E. in college as a required class is on the decline.

The study did not come up with a definitive reason why there has been a decline, but budget cuts are a key reason. A Cal Poly professor said this is where it gets conflicting, because research has found being active is absolutely critical to academic success.

The study looked at 354 universities and found 97 percent of students in 1920 had to take P.E. to get a diploma. Fast forward to 2010, the study found that only 39 percent are still required to be active in college.

"I would like to see them require it again," said Heather Rouhier, who is a student at Cal Poly.

Cal Poly does not currently require P.E. classes to graduate. "Historically we offered P.E. but these classes are not required for education and in the current budget climate, it's hard to offer classes that aren't required," said Kevin Taylor, who is the Chair of the Kinesiology Department at Cal Poly.

Required or not, Taylor said statistics show students have an interest in classes that get them moving.

"Research shows that the mind is healthier when the body is healthier," said Taylor.

"It becomes your lifestyle. It becomes something that you do like waking up and brushing your teeth," said Rouhier.

"We are trying to develop a series of classes that will be offered through continuing education," said Taylor.

These classes would go beyond the gym mats. Taylor said, the classes would be about healthy perspectives on nutrition, diet and exercise.

"I think P.E. classes should be required for everybody, but I am not talking about P.E. from the olden days. I am not talking about rope climbing, I am talking about structure that is culturally relevant and informs people about society and choices, so that our graduates can be leaders," said Taylor.

All Cal Poly students have access to its recreation center and thousands take advantage of it every day.

Kinesiology students at Cal Poly are required to take courses that incorporate fitness and nutrition.



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