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Study Says CA Teens Don't Exercise Enough At School

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State requirements in California dictate that middle and high school kids get 400 minutes of exercise at school per ten days. But even with those requirements in place, public school students aren't exercising -- a UCLA study has found that less than two-thirds of students in public schools participate in physical education classes in school. The study authors found that the lack of exercise in a school setting is due in part to financial cuts made to gym class and physical education, and also to a rule that allows high school students to skip out of the classes. According to a statement published on UCLA's website, the phenomenon is made starkly clear when comparing the amount of PE kids get as they get older:

The study found, for example, that the proportion of teens participating in PE drops precipitously with age, from 95 percent at age 12 to just 23 percent at age 17.

The study also found that boys participate in PE more than girls -- 66% compared to 59% -- but that both genders are woefully underperforming when it comes to meeting federal standards for physical activity: "just 25 percent of boys and 13 percent of girls meet the current federal recommendations for physical activity."

In the same statement, Dr. Allison Diamant, a faculty associate with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and a UCLA associate adjunct professor of general internal medicine and health services had this to say:

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"Physical activity doesn't just keep the body healthy and prevent diabetes and obesity," Diamant said, "it also feeds the mind. Exercise is an education tool."