This research seeks to determine the relationships between the quality of physical education (PE) programs provided by state departments of education (DOE), obesity rates, and sedentary behaviors described as physical inactivity in adolescents ages 10-17 years old. A modified rubric based on the “Let’s Move Active Schools Assessment” was created and used to quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate the PE programs and physical activity (PA) opportunities provided by websites of the state’s DOE. A total of fourteen states were chosen to be assessed due to having either the highest or lowest obesity or physical inactivity rates. It was believed that the states with the highest obesity prevalence would have the highest inactivity and the lowest quality PE programs, and that those with lowest obesity prevalence would have lowest physical inactivity and high quality PE programs. After assessing the chosen states, no correlation was found between the quality of PE program as determined from the created rubric and the obesity or sedentary behavior rates of the state. The highest grade of all states assessed was 23 out of 27 with the lowest score being 7. The average scores of the states with the highest obesity was greater than the average for those states with the lowest inactivity, indicating that the quality of PE programs as provided by the DOE are not exclusively related to obesity and physical inactivity prevalence. Other determining factors such as nutrition, state funding, local policies, and societal factors may be more involved in the health of children than what is popularly believed. The data show that efforts are being made to decrease obesity throughout schools and the departments of education, however the efficiency of such efforts to increase physical activity and health are low. While states may post plans for PE and create standards for teaching, local levels of education are not required to enforce the policies or teach the curriculum suggested. Including students with special conditions and providing physical activities outside the school building is also lacking although it may seem like measures are being taken to provide such opportunities. More evaluations must be completed to get a stronger understanding of how to fix inadequate physical education and activity programs provided by the states’ DOEs. Reviewing each DOE efforts as well as that of the community and individual school districts would help gain insight into where roadblocks reside and how to overcome destructive policies to offer better physical activity and education to children.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Educational and Human Sciences
Sport and Exercise Science; Human Performance
Orlando (Main) Campus
McWilliams, Payton C., "Evaluating the Quality of Physical Education Programs Provided by State Department of Education Websites and the Relationships Between Adolescent Obesity and Sedentary Prevalence" (2017). Honors in the Major Theses. 221.