Guest Blogger: Christina Bodamer
As you may have seen recently in your local newspapers editorial section, physical education is a hot topic in the state of Oregon. In 2007, Oregon was the first state in the nation to pass legislation requiring minimum minutes for physical education in elementary (150 minutes) and middle school (225 minutes), and remains the only state to do so. That legislation was passed with a 10 year grace period for implementation, but with one year before the bill goes into effect, our schools are currently providing less physical education than they were a decade ago!
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that every child engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Physical activity decreases the likelihood of becoming overweight and reduces risk factors for diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. With children spending the majority of their day at school, at least part of the recommend activity should be provided during school. Quality physical education gives students the knowledge and skills to participate in a lifetime of physical activity.
AHA will be working with our partners in the upcoming 2017 legislative session to protect this mandate and to create a path forward for schools that are unlikely to be in compliance right away.
State resources for implementation may be limited due to budget deficits Oregon may be facing during the 2017 legislative session. But even given limited resources, we believe physical education is a smart investment that improves both the physical and academic achievements of our children.