Bronx Health REACH Commends Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Report on Physical Education Disparities in NYC Schools

May 07, 2015

New York, NY (May 7, 2015) – The Institute for Family Health’s Bronx Health REACH program applauds New York City  Comptroller Scott Stringer for his report, “Dropping the Ball: Disparities in Physical Education in New York City Schools.” The report highlights the lack of certified PE teachers, dedicated space for PE and adequate PE programming. These findings confirm Bronx Health REACH’s experience working with schools in the Bronx to reduce chronic, preventable diseases and eliminate inequities leading to poor health outcomes.

Student health is foundational to community health. For the past six years, the Bronx has ranked 62 out of the 62 counties in New York State in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings Report. Inadequate provision of physical education to schoolchildren in the Bronx contributes to the 24% of public elementary and middle school students in the South Bronx who are obese and the additional 19% who are overweight.[i] 13.4% of Bronx public high school students are obese (13.4%)[ii]

Bronx Health REACH’s Healthy Schools NY Program, which helps schools implement sustainable wellness policies and practices, has identified critical gaps in student health promotion and physical education in the Bronx. For example, physical education and school wellness are insufficiently funded and not allotted sufficient time in the school day. School administrators are not held accountable for assuring quality health and wellness programming, and meeting the mandate for PE in each school.

Following the release of Comptroller Stringer’s report, Bronx Health REACH calls on the NYC Department of Education and school wellness advocates to work to 1) obtain better data on PE availability; and 2) update the District Physical Education Plan as required by the New York State Education Department. We are committed to working with Comptroller Stringer’s office and all school health advocates to improve the health of all New York City children.

[i] South Bronx At-A-Glance: Neighborhood & Health Information. NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Version 1.4; 2014.

[ii] Epiquery.