Mandatory Physical Education In Colleges And Universities Is At All-Time Low, Report Shows

01/07/2013 05:35 pm ET | Updated Jan 07, 2013

If you're a recent college grad, think about this: Were you required by the university to take a P.E. class? Or was high school the last time you were "forced" to take gym?

According to a new study in the journal Research Quarterly for Exercise and Support, the number of four-year universities that require students to take physical education classes is at its lowest ever.

Back in 1920, 97 percent of students in four-year higher education institutions had to take P.E. But in 2010, that number was 39 percent.

"There is a remarkable disconnect in that we fund research as a nation showing that physical activity is absolutely critical to academic and life success, but we aren't applying that knowledge to our own students," study researcher Brad Cardinal, of Oregon State University (which requires students to take P.E. classes), said in a statement.

Cardinal's findings are based on data from 354 four-year colleges and universities. Even though the study didn't come to any definitive reasons for why mandatory P.E. is becoming less common, the researchers noted that possible reasons include smaller budgets and more focus on academics.

What do you think? Should universities require students to take P.E. classes, or is it something people should just be doing of their own accord? Let us know in the comments!

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