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Is MN Missing the Boat With No Physical Education Standards?

November 23, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - Minnesota is one of just three states in the entire country that don't have statewide physical education standards in schools; such standards currently are up to local districts. University of Minnesota professor Dr. Marti Kubik says many kids aren't getting the physical activity they need, and a new study from Germany reinforces the crucial nature of such exercise. The study of children in lower socio-economic circumstances found that daily physical activity resulted in significant health improvements.

Kubik says Minnesota kids aren't getting the daily doses of exercise they need.

"The opportunity to mandate policy and standards would certainly benefit the health of our youth and is something that, as Minnesotans, we really need to give serious consideration to."

Kubik says Minnesota data shows that only 25 percent of boys in 12th grade get 30 minutes of daily exercise, and only 10 percent of girls do.

She adds that supporting physical activity in youth is the best gift we can give them for life.

"We're missing the boat when we are not providing them the physical and the social support to make that happen during their childhood and adolescent period."

Senator Al Franken is sponsoring the "FIT Kids Act." He's in Washington right now debating the health care reform bill, and says this falls in line with what health reform is all about.

"If you're going to do health reform you have to put physical education and you have to put nutrition into that, and the best to place to start is school. We've just seen a growing epidemic of childhood obesity and it's happening here in Minnesota."

The supports the "FIT Kids Act" to ensure that quality physical activity is incorporated into school curricula.

According to the AHA, Minnesota dropped in ranking from the healthiest state in the nation in 2006 to number four in 2008, with the change based in part on the increase in obesity.

Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MN