Trends, Issues & Developments in Physical Education

Instructor: Donna Ricketts

Donna Ricketts is a health educator with 15 years of professional experience designing health and wellness programs for adults and children.

In this lesson, we will look at the latest trends, common issues, and developments in physical education. We will look at how these things affect Physical Education today and in the future.

Physical Education in Schools

Did you know that some schools still do not require physical education classes, in spite of the continuous rise of childhood obesity? Physical education, such as developing motor skills, calisthenics, or basketball plays a big part in maintaining a healthy weight and building a strong mind and body. Regardless of obesity concerns and the many health benefits of regular PE, such as improved concentration and attentiveness in the classroom and increased self-esteem, many kids today do not receive adequate physical education.

Let's take a look at some of the issues, trends and developments to gain a better understanding of PE now and what it may look like in the future.


Today, kids are more sedentary than ever, due in part to the enormous amount of time spent on phones, computers, and engaging with social media. Because of this, weight-related health issues such as childhood obesity and diabetes are more prevalent in children and has become major health issues. Schools, which once played a huge part in health education are cutting back, or in some cases, eliminating physical education at all grade levels. For some kids, PE may be the only opportunity for physical activity. Unfortunately, many schools are faced with budget cuts, and the first thing to go tends to be PE.

To make up for no physical education program, many schools across the U.S. looked to their Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and community members for help by means of outsourcing private organizations to provide PE to students. In addition, classroom teachers are now being encouraged to take on the role of PE teacher, but that has its own problems. Many classroom teachers are not properly trained to teach physical education to their students. In addition, teachers must teach the required academic lessons, which leaves very little time for them to plan and teach PE.

A huge trend happening in physical education is centered on helping kids develop the skills needed to live a healthy lifestyle and to maintain this lifestyle as an adult. Gone are the days of just playing basketball, softball, and kickball for PE. Kids are learning about fitness and what it means to be fit. They are experimenting with different types of exercises such as yoga and Zumba and sports like soccer and lacrosse with the hope of finding an activity that they enjoy and will participate in long-term.

Additionally, kids are now learning about how to make healthy food choices by developing skills such as gardening, to learn where food comes from, and cooking, so they know how to prepare their own healthy foods.

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