The committee was convened to develop recommendations regarding approaches for strengthening and improving programs and policies for physical activity and physical education in the school environment. In tackling the committee’s charge, a set of more than 1,000 articles and reports were identified from peer-reviewed published literature and from organizations relevant to physical education, physical activity, and health. The focus of the literature review was to retrieve review articles and seminal articles on the evidence available on the influences of physical activity and physical education on the short- and long-term physical, cognitive and brain, and psychosocial health and development of children and adolescents and potential physical activity and physical education policies and programs.
Scopus and ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) were primarily used to search the literature, supplemented by MEDLINE. Scopus is a multidisciplinary research tool indexing more than 15,000 peer-reviewed journals from 4,000 publishers. Subject areas covered by Scopus include chemistry; physics; mathematics; engineering; life and health sciences; social sciences; psychology; economics; biological, agricultural, and environmental sciences; and general sciences. ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education. ERIC contains more than 1.4 million records for education-related journal articles and other education materials from scholarly organizations, professional associations, research centers, policy organizations, university presses, the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies, and state and local agencies. MEDLINE is the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic database, covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, vet-
erinary medicine, the health care system, and preclinical sciences. PubMed provides access to more than 12 million MEDLINE citations. MEDLINE contains bibliographic citations and author abstracts from more than 4,600 biomedical journals published in the United States and 70 other countries.
The literature search strategy generated search terms based on the committee’s framework approach to its task (see Figure 1-4 in Chapter 1). The initial search strategy paired the terms “physical education” and “physical activity” with terms related to themes including academic achievement, brain development, classrooms, disparities, exercise, fitness, intra- and extramural sports, joint use, mental health, out-of-school time, policy, psychosocial health, recess, school financing, sedentary activity, somatic growth, transportation, and weight. More detailed searches also included terms such as “somatic growth and health,” “muscle,” “heart,” “bone,” “metabolic syndrome,” “lipids,” and “blood pressure.” Searches were typically limited to U.S. populations and to children and adolescents, with the exception of studies examining the long-term and adult health benefits of childhood activity.
In addition, the committee invited presentations from experts on programmatic approaches to physical activity in the school environment (see Appendix D).
The committee developed recommendations, key messages, and action steps based on the evidence retrieved through the literature searches and expert presentations.