Guest Blogger: Amanda Cahill, Montana Government Relations Director
It may not be a legislative year for Montana, but that doesn’t mean a break for our important advocacy work. As we roll into 2016 our AHA staff and volunteers will be working on two important issues; CPR education and Physical Education minutes.
Did you know 70% of Montanans DO NOT KNOW CPR? Most often, the need for CPR arises at home, by learning CPR the life you are most likely to save is a loved one. We are launching a grassroots effort across the state to ensure that kids are taught CPR in school. By providing a fun, interactive 22 minute lesson on Hands Only CPR our Montana students can become life savers. Over the next year we will be reaching out to school boards, superintendents, teachers, and the state Board of Public Education to ask them to consider making CPR education a part of school curriculum.
There is currently no minimum number of PE minutes in Montana elementary schools. The mandatory minimum for middle schools is 225 minutes per week. There have been numerous studies in the past 15 years showing a positive correlation between amount of physical education and better school outcomes. Everything from attendance, behavior, test scores, and overall grades are improved when children get adequate physical activity.
We recognize that there are logistical difficulties, especially in small schools, for making sure students get enough PE, however we maintain that it’s worth the effort. With obesity and childhood diseases abounding in the US, this is one small step we can take to stave off these issues in Montana. We are teaming up with SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators) to reach out to the state Board of Education and individual districts to institute a mandatory minimum of 150 minutes of PE in elementary schools.
If you’d like to help in either of these efforts, please reach out to me at; [email protected].