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Virginians Support Daily Physical Education in Schools

April 12, 2013
A new survey of more than 15,800 Virginia residents statewide finds that 94 percent of Virginians support requiring at least 30 minutes of daily physical education in elementary and middle schools. According to the survey conducted by Y Street, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s  award-winning teen volunteer group for high school students, 61 percent of respondents also support dedicating up to or more than 5 hours per week to physical education.
 
Y Street conducted the survey of 15,847 Virginia residents (including 7,277 adults and 8,570 young people) based on a convenience sample in 210 communities statewide as part of Y Street’s ActOut Campaign, which aims to encourage school districts to implement 30 minutes of physical education each day in elementary and middle schools.
 
“This is the largest response we’ve ever gotten to any of our Y Street surveys,”  says Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth Marketing Director Danny Saggese. “It’s clear that Virginia’s young people and educators are passionate about the need for physical education in our public schools.”
 
The ActOut Campaign survey results were announced on April 12 at Virginia's third Weight of the State conference on childhood obesity prevention, held at the Westin Richmond Hotel.
 
Among the ActOut Campaign survey’s other findings:
 
 Three out of four respondents (74 percent) think that being physically active helps students perform better academically. Teachers were the most likely to
 
agree with this statement (92 percent).
 
 77 percent of respondents, including 90 percent of teachers, think that being physically active helps students build higher self-esteem.
 
  92 percent of respondents support having at least 2.5 hours of physical education per week at the high school level.
 
 Two-thirds of respondents agree or strongly agree that physical education is as important as music and arts education for youth development.
 
Y Street conducted the survey of 15,847 Virginia residents (including 7,277 adults and 8,570 young people) based on a convenience sample in 210 communities statewide as part of Y Street’s ActOut Campaign, which aims to encourage school districts to implement 30 minutes of physical education each day in elementary and middle schools.
 
Y Street teens collected the surveys from October 2011 to July 2012, and are currently using the survey results to talk with principals in their community about the need for adequate daily physical education in elementary and middle schools. Y Street volunteers are also collecting message cards as further evidence of the public's support for daily physical education. To date, Y Street teens have collected more than 12,000 cards of support from community members.
 
Y Street is the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s award-winning youth-led volunteer movement with a mission to increase public awareness and knowledge of two critical health issues: obesity and tobacco use. About 6,000 teens have participated in Y Street across Virginia since 2004. Y Street members have presented data from their health surveys to top government officials, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the Food and Drug Administration, and Virginia’s governor, attorney general and secretary of Health and Human Resources. Y Street was named the top youth advocacy group for tobacco-use prevention in the nation in 2011 by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.