New Law Revamps Physical Education in Texas Schools

Texas schools will soon join the fight against childhood obesity. Governor Rick Perry has signed Senate Bill 530 into law revamping physical education for students.

"It makes your mind sharper and it makes you feel better," John Ford with the College Station Medical Center said.

Ford is talking about exercise.

The proponent of physical fitness says he's seen fewer people hitting the gym and more sitting on the couch, especially children.

"We're getting kids coming in that have had injuries or are trying to participate in activities that are just not prepared to do those activities physically."

That's why Texas lawmakers are stepping in. Last week Governor Rick Perry signed a bill into law that requires kindergarten through fifth graders to exercise for 30 minutes during physical education or structured recess starting this fall.

"We're supportive of putting kids in a position so that they can maintain their health," College Station Independent School District Superintendent Eddie Coulson said. "We teach them good skills for not only when they're in school but when they become adults."

Starting in the fall of 2008, sixth through eighth graders must participate in activities during four out of six school semesters for 30 minutes a day.

Most local schools say they already require physical education for elementary school students, but the new law raises the intensity to moderate or vigorous activity.

"Kids don't become unhealthy at school," Coulson said. "I see this really being a partnership between the school and the community and the family to help kids maintain their health."

As part of the bill, Texas students in grades three through 12 will be tested based on factors related to student health, including body composition and muscular strength.

Supporters of the new law say it will keep inactive children from becoming overweight adults.


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