Friday, May 18, 2007

Florida mandates daily PE for elementary students

Gov. Charlie Crist, Florida has won over the Legislature in his push to take education out of the classroom and onto the field. Lawmakers decided Friday to require elementary school students to take 30 minutes of physical education a day in an effort to fight an epidemic of childhood obesity. ''Kids are just not as active as they used to be,'' said Rep. Will Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican. ``We're trying to create a culture of activity.'' While state law already encourages elementary schools to offer 150 minutes of physical education every week, the legislation will mandate it, beginning when the new school year starts this fall.

Crist is expected to sign the bill, which he praised in a statement Friday.
''It is absolutely critical that we find ways to help children adopt healthy habits they can carry into adulthood,'' Crist said in a statement. ``Physical activity is a central component of a healthy, meaningful and productive life.''