The golden 45 minutes – School Reforms and Physical Activity in Denmark

Danielle Louise Nørager Johansen, Thomas Skovgaard, Lisbeth Runge Larsen, Sofie Koch

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceCommunication


In August 2014 the biggest reshaping of primary schools in forty years was implemented in Denmark.
From the very early stages of the reform process, there was broad agreement among key stakeholders that children and young people should be more physically active during the school day.
Therefore, it is part of the reform program that physical activity (PA) form part of the syllabus for all year groups at primary schools corresponding on average to 45 minutes per day.

The reform states, that the 45 minutes of daily, school-based PA must serve a pedagogical purpose – e.g. including PA in regular lessons to support learning activities or establishing public-voluntary partnerships on the delivery of school-based physical activity in relation to themes like social inclusion.
Since the reform became reality, various initiatives have been introduced to boost schools capacity to implement PA as part of the school day: How to include brain breaks in formal teaching sessions, making recess more active and using the physical school environment to promote PA are some of the initiatives currently in play in Denmark.

Available data indicates that Danish schools have acted in varying degrees upon the requirements of the latest school reform to introduce more exercise in all their year groups. In some schools and whole school districts PA is now a strong part of everyday practice and has found its place as an active element in subject teaching, in breaks and in the transition to after-school time. In other instances, schools and local administrative organs are struggling to find ways to achieve the targets that have been set up for the PA-area.

There remains uncertainty about the precise status of PA in the transformed Danish school system. One way to generate further progress is to support municipalities in formulating consistent policies on the aims and objectives of school-based physical activity and education.

- Skovgaard T. Sport in Danish Schools – physical activity and public policy formulation in Denmark. The International Journal of Sport and Society: Annual Review, 2016, 7; 13-27.

- Larsen LR, Troelsen J, Kirkegaard KL, Riiskjær S, Krølner R, Østergaard L, Kristensen PL, Møller NC, Christensen BFN, Jensen J, Østergård C, and Skovgaard T. Results From Denmark’s 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2016, 13 (Suppl 2), p.137 –p.142

- Larsen RL, Troelsen J, Kirkegaard KL, Christensen B, Riiskjær S, Krølner R, Østergaard L, Kristensen PL, Jensen J, Østergaard C, Møller NC og Skovgaard T:The Danish Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. REACH 2017:3, University of Southern Denmark, Research and Innovation Centre for Human Movement and Learning, Denmark.
Translated title of the contributionDe gyldne 45 minutter - Folkeskolereformen og Fysisk Aktivitet i Danmark
Original languageEnglish
Publication date11. May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 11. May 2017
Event2017 AIESEP International Conference - Université des Antilles, Gosier, Guadeloupe
Duration: 7. Nov 201710. Nov 2017


Conference2017 AIESEP International Conference
LocationUniversité des Antilles
Internet address

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