Is there a long-term health legacy of required physical education?

Sports Med. 2008;38(4):265-70. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200838040-00001.


This article documents current literature on the potential long-term effects of school physical education on various outcomes in adults. A first observation is the rarity of publications on this topic. Nevertheless, the available literature suggests that physical education should offer a variety of either lifelong physical activities or sports in order to reach children with differing interests. In some children, competitive sports may generate a lifelong interest in physical activity, but most children may be better socialized by lifelong physical activities. In order to expose children to such a wide choice of physical activities, more time should be allocated to physical education instruction. Substantial further research is needed to increase our understanding of the long-term impact of school physical education programmes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Life Style*
  • Motor Activity*
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Physical Fitness
  • Schools
  • Sports*