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J Sch Health. 2010 Jul;80(7):326-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2010.00509.x.

Examination of trends and evidence-based elements in state physical education legislation: a content analysis.

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  • 1George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.



To develop a comprehensive inventory of state physical education (PE) legislation, examine trends in bill introduction, and compare bill factors.


State PE legislation from January 2001 to July 2007 was identified using a legislative database. Analysis included components of evidence-based school PE from the Community Guide and other authoritative sources: minutes in PE, PE activity, teacher certification, and an environmental element, including facilities and equipment. Researchers abstracted information from each bill and a composite list was developed.


In total, 781 bills were analyzed with 162 enacted. Of the 272 bills that contained at least 1 evidence-based element, 43 were enacted. Only 4 bills included all 4 evidence-based elements. Of these 4, 1 was enacted. Funding was mentioned in 175 of the bills introduced (37 enacted) and an evaluation component was present in 172 of the bills (49 enacted).


Based on this analysis, we showed that PE is frequently introduced, yet the proportion of bills with evidence-based elements is low. Future research is needed to provide the types of evidence required for development of quality PE legislation.

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