Phys ed class more effective when there's more talking

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A new approach to traditional high school gym class dramatically increases how often teens exercise outside of school.

Researchers at Ohio State and Denison universities developed and tested the new program in which students at a rural Ohio high school learned how create a personalized exercise program. The students spent one gym class each week learning the skills necessary for planning a lifelong exercise program.

Nearly half of the students said that they spent no time exercising outside of school prior to beginning the program. That number dropped to less than one in 10 students once the program ended.

"Traditional gym classes don't work for many students," said Rick Petosa, a study co-author and an associate professor of physical activity and educational services at Ohio State. "Sports-based physical education does not increase physical activity outside of school."

The new approach to gym class, called "Planning to be Active," was developed by Petosa and Brian Hortz, an assistant professor of physical education at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.

"Most current physical education research focuses on increasing the number of minutes of physical activity in the classroom," Hortz said. "Instead of exercising during class time, we had students spend their time thinking about, planning and analyzing their approach to exercise outside of the classroom."

The results appear in a recent issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The study included 143 students from the same high school the intervention school to participate in the new program. An additional 97 students from a neighboring high school served as a comparison group Hortz did not present the new program to these students.

Students at both schools attended physical education classes five days a week, where the emphasis was on learning the skills necessary to participate in sports.

Each week f

Contact: Rick Petosa
Ohio State University

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