Oregon Law Requires "Exercise" beginning in 2017

A new law that will take effect in 2017 will require all Oregon schoolchildren to work toward physical fitness at school.

Once taken for granted as a by product of children's playtime, physical fitness is now a state mandate for school kids through eighth grade.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed a bill last week requiring 150 minutes of physical education a week for grades kindergarten through 5 and 225 minutes a week for grades 6 through 8 in an attempt to combat prevalent childhood obesity.

The law, effective in fall 2017, specifies that half of that time must be used for exercise.

Most elementary schools in Jackson County don't include formal physical education in the school day. Physical activity comes as a part of recess or informal activities initiated by teachers. Recess cannot be counted as physical education under the law.