Should the Curricular Time Allocated to School Physical Education Be Increased? Insights From Participants in a Follow-Up of the Trois-Rivières Study


  • Richard Larouche
  • Louis Laurencelle
  • Roy J. Shephard
  • François Trudeau Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières



Physical activity, school curriculum, semi-structured interviews, longitudinal study


In this study, we explored the effects of exposure to an experimental program of daily physical education (PE) during primary school on adult attitudes toward school PE. In 2008, 86 original participants in the Trois-Rivières study (44 women and 42 men aged 44.0 ± 1.2 years) underwent a semistructured interview in which their attitudes toward PE, the amount of curricular time that should be allocated to PE, and participants' recollections of their primary school PE program were examined. From 1970 to 1977, these individuals had been assigned to either an experimental program (5 hr of PE per week from Grade 1 to 6) or the standard curriculum (40 min of PE per week). Participants advocated increasing the time currently allocated to school PE, to an average of 3 hr 25 min/week (± 1 hr 9 min). Justifications for such an increase included the lack of other opportunities for physical activity (PA), enhanced academic achievement in active individuals, and the potential contribution of such initiatives to reduce sedentary behavior and childhood obesity. Participants from the experimental group recommended an average of 38 min/week more PE than the controls. The proportion of participants who expressed mostly positive recollections of their PE program was greater in the experimental group (94.9% vs. 82.1%). These findings are suggestive of a consensus for increasing the time allocated to PE, and participants' justifications were mostly consistent with current evidence. Moreover, participation in daily PE may foster the development of more favorable attitudes toward PE. 

Author Biography

François Trudeau, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Full professsor

Department of physical activity sciences