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August 07, 2015

CDC says most schools start classes too early in the day

The majority of schools in the United States start classes earlier in the morning than the recommended time, according to data published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC recommends an 8:30 a.m. or later start time to ensure that students get enough sleep for health, safety and academic success.

According to the data, which reviewed nearly 40,000 public middle, high and combined schools, fewer than one in five schools in the U.S. began the day at the recommended start time or later during the 2011-2012 school year.

"Insufficient sleep is common among high school students and is associated with several health risks such as being overweight, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and using drugs – as well as poor academic performance," researchers said. 

In the study, 42 states reported that 75-100 percent of the public schools in their respective states started before 8:30 a.m., with an average start time of 8:03 a.m.

School start time policies are determined at the district or individual school level.