Press Release


High School Students Find Value in Health and Physical Education

RESTON, VA, May 23, 2017 — Nearly 92% of high school students who have taken a health education class believe it is important to their future health. That is one of the findings of new research conducted by myCollegeOptions® and SHAPE America ‒ Society of Health and Physical Educators. The recent study offers valuable insight into the attitudes of more than 132,000 high school students toward health and physical education (PE).  

Research from this study shows that most high school students currently participating in health and physical education classes have a positive perception of PE and its impact on their lives in and out of school.

"Now that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) identifies school health and physical education as part of a student's well-rounded education for the first time in federal education law, this is particularly gratifying news," says SHAPE America President Fran Cleland of West Chester University. "Parents, administrators and legislators need to listen to our children and youth. They want to embrace a healthy and physically active life, and it is our job to support them in doing so."

  • More than half of students reported enjoying PE and recognizing its importance to their future health, with a wide variety of additional benefits such as: relieves stress (41%);helps me to work well with others (40%); gives me confidence (32%); helps me focus (30%); teaches me problem-solving and how to meet challenges (24%); and helps me to be a better student (23%).  
  • Nine in 10 students report developing beneficial skills that are outside of physical education through their physical education experiences. They include: importance of a physically active lifestyle (58%); how to set fitness goals and maintain fitness levels (57%); skills necessary to play sports or be physically active (54%); competitive strategies or skills necessary for success in sports (48%); and how to respect myself and others (44%).  
  • Male students are more likely to see that the benefits of PE class participation are enjoyment, gaining confidence and focus, and helping them to be better students, while female students are more likely to see the importance of future health and working with others as benefits of PE class participation. 
  • Male students are significantly more likely to report five or more days of physical activity outside of PE class than their female counterparts (49% vs. 31% respectively).  

The SHAPE America study is one of a series conducted annually by in partnership with the nation's top education organizations. To receive a free copy of the full report, contact


About myCollegeOptions®
My College Options is the nation’s largest college planning program, offering free assistance and valuable resources to students, parents, high schools, counselors and teachers nationwide. The program serves as the primary link between high school students and colleges, universities, and the tools they need to succeed. For more information, please visit

About SHAPE America
SHAPE America - Society of Health and Physical Educators is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives. As the nation's largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals, SHAPE America works with its 50 state affiliates and national partners to support initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let's Move! Active Schools and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs.

Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our resources provide the leadership, professional development and advocacy that support health and physical educators at every level - from preschool to university graduate programs. For more information, visit

Students Perceptions Infographic

 SHAPE America Student Perceptions Infographic_2017
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Press Information

Contact SHAPE America at:
(800) 213-7193