Do American high schools have P.E.?
Mine does, though I've never taken PE.
My school requires students to take 2 years (4 semesters) of PE in addition to a semester of health. There's three classes; PE, weightlifting, and morning weightlifting. PE is what a student makes out of it. They can work themselves to death or leisurely get themselves through the class. Most of the students that take (morning) weightlifting are athletes or can't fit PE in their normal schedule, so they'll take morning weightlifting before school.
Students can play/compete in four seasons of a sport instead of taking PE classes. I played tennis for four years in addition to two years of rugby for PE credit.
If they don't play a sport, students can do independent study in the fall, spring, or summer. I think it's ~60 total hours of a physical activity that is the monitered and tracked, such as doing yoga at a yoga studio, being on a dance team, or competing in a outside-of-school club sport.
Some people will take it online, but very few do.
Unfortunately, yes, most of them do, although from my experiences, P.E. is basically just a trial run for the various sports teams in American schools. It sucks, the coaches are jerks and 9.5/10 times the activity chosen is boring/hard/outside in all that daytime (bleh). It might just be me, but I feel like the time schools spend on P.E. would be better spent as a free period/study hall with the option to do all those things you're too busy rushing between classes to do, considering (at least at my last two schools) once school's out for the day it's out, like, all the teachers vanish, the lights go out and the school building becomes a ghost town. And besides, school's stressful as fuck, who wouldn't like an hour of free time halfway through the day to mill around the school or catch up on homework or any of the other things you need to get done that day?
Yes they do. All students grades 7–12 must receive a minimum of 400 minutes of physical education instruction every 10 school days. Local school boards may exempt students from any two years of physical education in grades 10, 11, or 12. High school physical education course content must include eight content areas, the effect of physical activity upon dynamic health, Mechanics of body movement, individua/dual sports, gymnastics/tumbling, team sports, rhythms/dance, combatives.