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National Physical Education and Sports Week

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. ALTMIRE. Mr. Speaker, this resolution designates May 1-7 as National Physical Education and Sports Week. This is the second year in which Congress has officially observed the first week of May for this purpose.

The benefits of physical activity are well documented. It reduces the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, back pain, and even certain types of cancer. It can increase one's self-esteem and body image and reduce anxiety. In youth, it develops motor skills, leads to healthier lifestyles, improves social awareness, and averts risky behaviors.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends 60 minutes of daily physical activity for children and teenagers, and 30 minutes of daily physical activity for adults. Moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk, when done regularly, has a significant health benefit.

As a Nation, we should be more active. One out of four children do not attend any physical education classes in school; 61 percent of children, ages 9 through 13, do not participate in any physical activity outside of school. Only 25 percent of children get a minimum of 20 minutes of vigorous physical activity per day.

Mr. Speaker, in comparison, 60 percent of adults are not regularly active, and 25 percent are not physically active at all. The lack of physical activity has many negative results. The percentage of overweight young people has more than tripled since 1980. It is 18 percent of that population today.

Children are now being diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes, all once thought to be age related. Two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. Obesity-related diseases cost the economy more than $100 billion annually.

I want to recognize some exemplary programs that are currently promoting and encouraging physical activity. Four thousand Boys and Girls Clubs across this country provide more than 4.6 million kids with the opportunity to be physically active. YMCA provides services to over 20 million people, including the Silver Sneakers programs for seniors.

This resolution acknowledges that physical activity and sports play a central role in creating a healthy lifestyle for children and adults. Schools should include physical education classes and other opportunities for physical opportunities as part of the school day, and this resolution says communities should be involved and support schools in the promotion of physical activities, nutrition education and healthy lifestyles.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. ALTMIRE. I thank the gentleman from Tennessee for his leadership on this issue and the other legislation that we talked about today.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.


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