With the rising rate of childhood obesity, physical education is of vital importance in ensuring the health and well-being of our children. Teaching our children healthy lifestyle choices will improve physical fitness, which in turn has been shown to strengthen academic performance. That is why I joined Representatives Zach Wamp (R-TN) and Jay Inslee (D-WA), in introducing the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids (FIT Kids) Act, legislation that would combat childhood obesity by modifying the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) to strengthen physical education programs throughout the country.
As a member of the Congressional Fitness Caucus, I believe that schools are ideally suited to teach our kids how to best nourish their bodies as well as their minds. Ensuring that our schools are providing comprehensive physical education 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.
This bill adds physical education to the multiple measures for determining accountability with the NCLB. Specifically, staIssue Position: Childhood Obesity
tes would be measured for their demonstrated progress toward meeting the national goal for required physical education of 150 minutes per week in elementary schools and 225 minutes per week for students in middle and high schools.
The bill would provide information to parents and the public by requiring all schools, districts and states to report on students' physical activity. This information would include the amount of time spent in required physical education in relation to the recommended national standard and the percentage of age-appropriate physical education curriculum and certified physical education teachers.
In addition, the FIT Kids Act promotes physical education and activity in school programs, supports professional development for faculty and staff to promote kids' healthy lifestyles and physical activity, and authorizes a study and pilot program to support effective ways to combat childhood obesity and improve healthy living and physical activity for all children.