U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) recently introduced the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids (FIT Kids) Act and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Act. The two bills aim to improve the nation's health, particularly the health of our young people, by strengthening physical education programs throughout the country.
"Public health and physical fitness are pressing concerns for our country, and in order to get the best results it's important to instill healthy habits and routines early in life," said Rep. Kind. "Promoting good health, especially to kids, is something we all can do to help keep America competitive on the global stage because it's hard to develop a healthy mind without a healthy body."
The FIT Kids Actwill authorize grants to states to develop comprehensive, data-driven, and evidenced-based programs to address student physical health and well-being, fitness, and nutrition. Through these grants, schools will be able to implement or improve programs and monitor school-level conditions in order to promote physical activity and nutrition. It also helps local leaders access the information they need to improve physical education, supports student learning in a variety of motor skills and physical activities, bolsters professional development for health and physical education teachers, and promotes equal physical activity opportunities for students with disabilities.
"It's imperative that we work to strengthen our physical education programs so that our schools become environments that promote the lifetime benefits of physical activity," said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. "The Fit Kids and Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Acts are critical steps towards ensuring that every student receives at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily, and we commend Representatives Kind and Schock for their important work on these two bills."
"The FIT Kids Act is very near and dear to my heart, having been an overweight child myself" said fitness icon Richard Simmons. "As a fitness professional and healthy adult, I know all too well, how important early education for both students and parents is. This bill is vital to every child's health, well being, self worth, focus and ability to learn. I say, let the kids sweat.....that's the best bet!!"
A new report released by the independent nonprofit Institute of Medicine's (IOM), titled "Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School" confirms that schools are the frontlines for establishing healthy lifestyles and good public health. The report details the important role the school districts play in promoting physical activity and creating an environment where healthy living becomes a part of each student's daily routine, goals that the FIT Kids Act aims to accomplish.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Act requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to publish a report entitled "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans" every ten years. The report will contain physical activity information and guidelines for the general public, and be promoted by federal agencies that promote good health. Guidelines will be based on current scientific and medical knowledge and should include guidelines for specific groups, including children. The bill is supported by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association and the American College of Sports Medicine.