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The Illinois Learning Standards for Physical Development and Health were developed using National Standards for Physical Education, National Health Education Standards, the 1985 State Goals for Physical Development and Health, and other states' standards and local outcomes from Illinois school districts.

A state report released in August 2013 calls for new benchmarks and strategies to improve and increase physical education classes, noting the latest neuroscience research linking physical activity with improved academic performance. State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch and Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Department of Public Health, co-chaired the Illinois Enhance Physical Education (P.E.) Task Force, which developed the 148-page report that has been submitted to Gov. Pat Quinn, the Illinois State General Assembly, and health organizations and community groups interested in turning the tide of childhood obesity and improving health for all students.

As the nation moves forward into the twenty-first century, a tremendous opportunity exists to enhance our health and well-being. Much of that opportunity lies in our ability to address the growing health challenges that are facing children and youth. Although progress is being made, poor physical fitness; violence; lack of proper nutrition; communicable diseases; and alcohol, tobacco and other drug use continue to plague our society and most notably our youth.

Comprehensive physical development and health programs offer great potential for enhancing the capacity of students' minds and bodies. Extensive research connects the ability to learn to good health. Healthy minds and bodies are basic to academic success and, in later life, enhance the ability to contribute to a productive work environment.

The benefits of comprehensive health and physical education include promoting a healthy generation of students who are able to achieve their highest potential, reversing the trend of deteriorating health and physical fitness among youth, and helping to lower the cost of health care in the United States.

The goals and standards for physical development and health foster workplace skills, including identifying short- and long-term goals, utilizing technology, following directions, and working cooperatively with others. Problem solving, communication, responsible decision making, and team-building skills are major emphases as well.

Through comprehensive K-12 physical development and health programs, students will achieve active and healthy lives that will enable them to achieve personal goals and contribute to society.​

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