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Assessing Recess: Growing Concerns About Shrinking Play Time in Schools

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Publication Date: December 2008

Publisher(s): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Topic: Health (Health promotion)

Type: Report


As childhood obesity rates are on the rise and the attention spans of youth are on the wane, it seems making room for more recess is not only fun, but necessary. This survey, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows that Americans generally agree that school recess is in peril and that life-long habits and skills that affect the health and development of children form on the playground.

The poll was conducted by Kelton Research on behalf of Sports4Kids between September 25 and September 29. A total of 1,000 U.S. adults (ages 18 and over) were polled for this survey. Some key findings include:

* Nearly four out of five parents believe that children aren’t getting enough physical playtime on a daily basis.
* Seven out of 10 Americans disagree with schools’ policies of eliminating or reducing recess time for budgetary, safety or academic reasons.
* An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that recess serves many important functions for both students and teachers. For example, 91 percent believe that having a break with physical activity helps children stay focused and learn in the classroom.
* Nine in 10 agree that schools should be responsible for ensuring that children partake in a healthy amount of physical activity during the school day.