Proposed Act Calls for More P.E. in Schools to Fight Obesity

March 17, 2011

Legislators have reintroduced a bill to combat childhood obesity by strengthening physical education programs in schools throughout the country.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today reintroduced the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act (FIT Kids Act), a bill to combat childhood obesity by strengthening physical education programs in schools throughout the country.

The FIT Kids Act, H.R. 1057, renews the emphasis on physical education in schools. The Act would work to ensure kids are active during the school day and are given opportunities that promote overall health and wellness. The legislation would engage parents and the public by requiring all school districts and states to report on students’ physical activity, including the amount of time spent in required physical education in relation to the recommended national standard.

The Act would further ensure appropriate professional development for health and physical education teachers, fund research to examine the link between children’s health and their academic achievement, and recommend effective ways to combat childhood obesity and improve healthy living and physical activity.

“This bill gets to the simple truth: in order to develop a healthy mind, you need a health body,” Rep. Kind, co-chair of the Congressional Fitness Caucus, said in a statement.

“Providing increased physical education in public schools will give every child an opportunity—regardless of their background—to learn healthy habits and get moving. We will see the benefits in their math and reading test scores, get to the root of the obesity epidemic, and get kids on a healthy path early in life. I hope that Congress can consider the importance of physical education in our schools when they take a closer look at education reform later this year.”

“To ensure that our kids will lead healthy and active lives, we need to help them develop good habits early on,” said Senator Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

“This bill would combat rising rates of childhood obesity, which have become a pressing public health crisis that we must address,” he added. Kids who get more exercise throughout the day are more fit, more focused in the classroom, and get better sleep—also a welcome benefit for their parents! This bill empowers schools, teachers, and parents to help improve our kids’ health.”

“With childhood obesity rates that have tripled over the last few decades, we must make every effort to help children reduce their risk for heart disease, stroke and other life-threatening illnesses,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “More than 80% of adults support daily physical education, yet such programs have been on the decline in many school districts. The FIT Kids Act would help educate parents about the quality and quantity of physical education in their child’s school.”