Pennsylvania to Increase School Exercise

Last week, we got word that Oregon has the lowest childhood obesity rate in the country, at about 10 percent. Mississippi is in dead last, with 22 percent of the youth being obese.

According to a 2009 report by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Pennsylvania ranks 32 in the country for overweight and obese children. But, a new initiative may have the state making a move up in the rankings.

The Pennsylvania Board of Education has approved a proposal that requires schools to include 30 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous exercise into the school day. This is on top of the physical education classes that are already in place.

There’s also a dietary component to the Pennsylvania school initiative. The proposal requires schools to eliminate junk food from schools. This is done by establishing nutritional standards for foods that are sold in vending machines and through fundraisers.

“The research is clear: young people need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day,” says State Board of Education Chairman Joe Torsella.


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