By: Mollie Shannon

Timeline of Health in American Schools

  • 1866- California becomes the first state to require physical education in schools.  Other states began to follow over the next three decades[1]


  • 1885- Creation of the American Allience for health, Physical Activity, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD).  It is made up of 5 nonprofits, and has more than 30,000 members nationwide.  It is the oldest and largest organization that supports physical education.[2]


  • 1956- Creation of The President’s Council on Youth Fitness.  Created a niche dedicated to physical education advancement that is continued on to present day.  Under the Obama administration it was renamed the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition[3]


  • 1966-Presidential Physical Fitness Award created by Lyndon B. Johnson.  It was based on surveys from the President’s Council on Youth and Fitness, and put physical fitness in a positive light giving youth incentive to participate.[4]


  • 1967-A law is passed by congress that ensures funding for research of physical education catering to the handicapped.  This law sparked the movement to help children with disabilities through physical education.  Through this law the Bureau for Education of the Handicapped (BEH) was founded. [5]


  • 2001- No Child Left Behind Act created.  This policy’s goal was to improve standardized test scores for primary and secondary schools.  However, this policy did not take physical education into account and resulted in less funding for P.E.[6]


  • 2004- Child Nutrition Act. Requires all school districts with meal plans that are federally funded to incorporate health and  nutrition into physical education curriculum.[7]


  • 2010- Hunger-Free Kids Act.  United States Department of Agriculture allowed to reform school’s breakfast and lunch programs and set nutritional standards.  Set limits on calories, salt, sugar, and fat in foods and beverages and promotes snack foods with greater nutritional value.[8]


  • 2010- The name of the President’s council changes to President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.  This expands the mission of the council to include nutrition.[9]


  • 2012-USDA implementation of meal requirements.  Create a timeline and plan for changing the nutritional standards in schools beginning the school year of 2012-2013.[10]

[1]   PE Biography

[2]   PE Biography

[3]   President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

[4]              President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

[5]   PE Biography

[6]            PE Biography

[7]   PE Biography

[8]   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[9]            President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

[10] Implementation Timeline for Final Rule