Association for Physical Education: Health Position paper


This article reviews recent literature on the contribution of curriculum physical education to health-enhancing physical activity within the context of European countries. Recommended goals for student physical activity are discussed within a curriculum framework based on five ‘forms’ (concept, designed, implemented, results and effects).

The study used a ‘rapid reviewing’ method, in which sources were identified and analysed using systematic reviewing techniques, but subsequent stages were adapted to facilitate flexible and practical interpretation.Results show that physical education lessons tend not to reach a putative 50% threshold of moderate-to-vigorous intensity.

Given that the average time allocated for physical education in Europe is 100 minutes per week, strategies are needed to increase the intensity and duration of physical activity in lessons if they are to make a more meaningful ‘direct’ contribution to the European and WHO daily target of sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

The authors therefore consider the plausibility of introducing an ‘Active Schools’ concept, in which physical education lessons designed to equip students with the prerequisite knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values supportive of a physically active lifestyle are augmented by other school-based contexts which provide the opportunity to actually meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity participation.