FRIDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Physical-education requirements at four-year colleges and universities in the United States are at an all-time low, according to a new study.
In 1920, there were physical-education and exercise requirements for 97 percent of U.S. college students. In 2012, that number decreased to a historic low of 39 percent.
The study authors analyzed data going back to 1920 from more than 350 four-year colleges and universities, and their findings appeared in the December issue of the journal Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.
"We see more and more evidence about the benefit of physical activity -- not just to our bodies, but to our minds -- yet educational institutions are not embracing their own research," lead author Brad Cardinal, a professor of exercise and sport science at Oregon State University in Corvallis, said in a university news release.
"It is alarming to see four-year institutions following the path that K-12 schools have already gone down, eliminating exercise as part of the curriculum even as obesity rates climb," he added.
Many universities have fitness centers, but those facilities can be intimidating for many students, he said. Research has shown that campus exercise facilities are often used by students with the highest fitness levels, Cardinal noted.
"The very people who want to work out -- and likely would find a way to do so no matter what -- are often the most frequent visitors to gyms and fitness centers," Cardinal said. "A public university should provide a way for people who may be intimidated by state-of-the-art facilities -- or may be unfamiliar with even the basic concept of working out -- a way to learn about basic health and physical activity."
Requiring students to take physical-education courses helps them understand that being active and healthy is as important as academic achievement and could help lead them to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
"There is a remarkable disconnect in that we fund research as a nation showing that physical activity is absolutely critical to academic and life success, but we aren't applying that knowledge to our own students," Cardinal said.
The Nemours Foundation has more about college students and exercise.
SOURCE: Oregon State University, news release, Jan. 7, 2013
be well, feel better
In the dregs of winter it's easy to get down. So we reached out to Keri Glassman, nutritionist and author of The New You and Improved Diet, for some tips on how to keep those blues at bay.
Eat more and get slimmer (we promise!) by shopping from this list of truly satisfying, cravings-curbing foods.
How to fight colds, heartburn, joint pain, allergies, and other ailments by choosing the right food.
Arsenic in rice! Toxins in salmon! GMOs everywhere! Before you freak, find out which scares are worth your worry.
Feeling tired more often than not? Girl, we feel you: A study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that women are typically more exhausted than men. (Running the world takes it out of you.) So we asked Shilpi Agarwal, MD, and Equinox group fitness manager Jenn Hogg for eight ways to stay alert throughout the day.
If you have more than a few drinks a week, the calories start to add up fast. Slim your drink order with this expert advice.
Turn up your body's fat burn with these healthy foods.
Want to cozy up to better health this winter? First, shake off these common cold-weather health myths.