European Parliament: PE should be mandatory in schools

Physical education should be compulsory in school and children should have at least three physical education lessons a week, says an own-initiative report adopted by MEPs with 590 votes in favor 56 against and 21 abstentions. The number of children who are overweight or obese is growing by an estimated 400,000 per year, yet, according to a study for the Culture Committee, the average time that primary schools allocate to physical education has fallen from 121 to 109 minutes per week since 2002.

The report calls on Member States to make physical education compulsory in primary and secondary schools, ensure that the timetable includes at least three physical education lessons a week, and ensure "a higher degree of integration" between sports and academic subjects.

MEPs underline that physical education is the only school subject that seeks to prepare children for a healthy lifestyle and focuses on their physical and mental development.

MEPs also stress the need for better sports facilities and recommends that EU structural funds be used to create school and other sports facilities in disadvantaged areas.