In a continuation of its partnership with UNESCO and other organisations, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has today announced new guidelines urging improved standards of worldwide physical education.

The Quality Physical Education (QPE) Guidelines, aimed at Governments and educational planners, are in line with the IOC's mission to include sport in school curricula worldwide and to promote Olympic values-based education.

"Physical education in schools is crucial if we are to get the couch potatoes off the couch," said IOC President Thomas Bach today during a meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS) at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne.

"Sport has a central role to play in the education system, not just to fight against obesity and sedentary behaviour, but studies have shown time and again the positive effects physical activity has on the social and intellectual development of young people.

"Collaborating closely with UNESCO, we will ensure physical education is an integral part of school curricula to promote a healthy mind in a healthy body."

The Guidelines are a tool to help Governments reverse the decline in investment in physical education in schools, a trend seen recently in many countries, providing a framework to help policy-makers reshape policy as well as providing practical advice for implementation.

The IOC will specifically provide support to five pilot countries, through their National Olympic Committees from March 2015 to April 2016, although the identity of these five nations are still to be released.

Today's announcement has been billed as a continuation of the IOC's effort to use sport as a tool for education, demonstrating that Olympic values-based education can inspire young people to adopt healthy lifestyles built on the values of friendship, excellence and respect.

Strengthening its partnership with UNESCO to roll out physical education was also among the 40 recommendations approved at last month's Extraordinary IOC Session as part of the IOC Agenda 2020 reform process, with today's announcement a good early step.