Ask just about any nutrition professional - they’ll tell you that nutritious eating is only one part of the solution for losing weight or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity is equally as important.
With the child nutrition programs up for reauthorization this year, a number of bills have been introduced that specifically deal with the nutrition aspects of the school day. A bipartisan group of legislators, however, have recognized that in order for nutrition and other school health programs to work effectively, physical activity must be an important component of the day. On Thursday, March 19th, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Representatives Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), and Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) reintroduced the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act. Known as the FIT Kids Act, this legislation would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to require that all schools, districts, and states to report on the quality and quantity of physical education each student receives. The legislation would also ensure that children get the help they need to be physically active and make healthy food choices.
The FIT Kids Act is a comprehensive bill that would engage both parents and the public in promoting healthy, physically active lifestyles. Aside from requiring school districts to report on physical education, the legislation would also ensure that health and physical education teachers receive appropriate professional development. The bill would also fund research to examine the link between children’s health and academic achievement, as well as fund research into ways to further combat obesity.
Originally introduced in the 110th Congress by Senator Harkin and Representatives Kind and Wamp, the FIT Kids Act had 80 sponsors in the House and 15 sponsors in the Senate. Support for this legislation is expected to grow this Congress.
Many states have also introduced legislation promoting physical education and physical activity in schools. Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia have introduced legislation this year on physical activity. Some states, such as Minnesota, Missouri, New York, and Virginia have developed physical education standards. Other states, such as Texas, have introduced legislation that would require school districts to report physical activity on school report cards.
FIT Kids Act Introduced Today in 111th Congress
Senator Harkin, Reps. Kind, Wamp, and Inslee Reintroduce FIT Kids Act
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