Fight Against Obesity: Virginia requires 150 minutes physical activity weekly for elementary, middle school students

Vittorio Hernandez – AHN News

Richmond, VA, United States (AHN) – Virginia legislators approved Tuesday a measure that would require students in public elementary and middle school students at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly. The new law seeks to battle obesity in the state.

According to state data, over one-third of Virginia children are classified as obese. Experts estimate that less than 10 percent of students in Virgina schools, particularly those in kindergarten to Grade 5, meet weight standards.

To help battle the state’s battle with the bulge, the governor’s office previously launched a Nutrition and Physical Activity Scorecard that recognized and rewards schools for encouraging healthy habits among pupils.

Rewards are based on a five-point criteria, including the provision of a minimum 30 minutes of physical activity during the daily recess. Top schools are awarded gold, silver and bronze medals for their efforts and results.

The new law would take effect in 2014. Some school district officials are wary of the new law because of its possible impact on arts and music classes and higher cost due to the need to hire more Physical Education teachers.

The new law matches the 150 minutes of required PE for elementary students in the District of Columbia, but is 125 minutes less for middle school students in D.C., who are mandated 225 minutes physical activities weekly.

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