Delaware lawmakers consider school guidelines for physical activity

There is a move in Dover to make sure if kids are going to be couch-potatoes, they aren’t one during school hours.

Delaware legislators are considering requirements that elementary school students take part in 150 minutes of physical activity at school each week.

 

A bill to establish the guidelines comes at a time of increasing concern about childhood obesity.

“There is a child obesity epidemic in this state,” Nemours Health Foundation lobbyist George Meldrum told members of the State Senate Education Committee Wednesday in Dover. Meldrum cited studies which link moderate to vigorous physical activity to improved performance academically as well as fewer behavior problems that may result in school suspensions.

“Schools have to play a part in the solution,” added Jonathan Kirch of the American Heart Association Delaware chapter.

State Senator George Bunting’s (D-Bethany Beach) legislation would phase in the requirement that students in kindergarten through fifth grade have 30 minutes of physical activity available to them during the school day. Bunting added that it would not have to be what is thought of as traditional physical education.

“There’s a whole host of different ideas to get children involved,” Bunting said.

Representatives of the Delaware Department of Education and the Delaware Association of School Administrators Association expressed concern about the possibility of additional mandates being imposed on schools.

If approved, the physical activity requirement would commence in the 2014-15 school year.

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