Physical Education for Health Among School-Aged Children and Adolescents: A Scoping Review of Reviews

Virgílio Viana Ramires, Priscila Cristina dos Santos, Valter Cordeiro Barbosa Filho, Alexsandra da Silva Bandeira, Maria Cecilia Marinho Tenório, Edina Maria de Camargo, Fabrício Cesar de Paula Ravagnani, Paula Sandreschi, Victor José Machado de Oliveira, Pedro Curi Hallal, Kelly Samara Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Physical education (PE) classes in schools are considered relevant to implement interventions, especially focused on physical activity. However, evidence overviews on how PE classes contribute to general health (physical, social, affective, and cognitive domains) are still needed. Thus, we summarized evidence synthesis (eg, systematic reviews) that addressed the contribution of PE classes to the health of school-aged children and adolescents. Methods: We performed a scoping review with searches in 8 databases and institutional websites to find systematic reviews or meta-analyses that answered this review’s research question. Data charting form included the identification of the study, health outcomes, and PE classes’ strategies (policies and environment, curriculum, appropriate instructions, and evaluation). An interactive process was performed to build the evidence summary. Results: An initial search yielded 2264 titles, and 49 systematic reviews (including 11 with meta-analysis) were included in this review. Most documents reported the main benefits of PE classes on physical domain outcomes (eg, physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, body mass index, and fundamental motor skills). However, evidence on the benefits of PE classes in affective (eg, enjoyment, motivation, and autonomy); social (eg, cooperation, problem-solving, and making friends); and cognitive (eg, memory, attention, concentration, and decision making) domains were found. Strategies on PE classes for health benefits were highlighted. Conclusions: These elements were detailed in the evidence summary, which may be considered to guide researchers, teachers, and practitioners to define research and practice priorities on PE class interventions for health in the school context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-599
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • motor activity
  • school health
  • schoolchildren
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Epidemiology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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