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IHRSA Advocate

The IHRSA Advocate is your guide to knowing and understanding the policies that influence daily health club operations. We analyze the action, so you know when to take your own.

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Entries in physical education (23)


CDC Say U.S. Schools are Healthier  

Schools across America are showing progress in key areas related to health, including nutrition, physical education and smoking, say federal health officials.

A new 2012 comprehensive survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of school health policies show some encouraging trends. “Schools play a critical role in the health and well-being of our youth,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in an agency news release. “Good news for students and parents — more students have access to healthy food, better physical fitness activities through initiatives such as ‘Let’s Move,’ and campuses that are completely tobacco-free,” he said. Read more…


US Lawmaker Speaks Up for Physical Education and Healthy Youth

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) spoke out for physical education in a commentary published in Education Week, explaining why America must fund PE. Sen. Harkin is a long-time IHRSA ally and an outspoken proponent of policies that promote healthy, active lifestyles. He is also the Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Read the full op-ed…


Senate Committee Approves FIT Kids Act

Late last week the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee passed a reauthorization bill that contains the entire FIT Kids Act.

The bill reauthorizes spending for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and budgets 20 percent of this spending for improving PE. The FIT Kids Act would incorporate more exercise throughout the school day, and provide funding for teacher training and data collection to improve physical activity in schools. IHRSA commends the committee’s action on FIT Kids. We now hope the full Senate will recognize the critical importance of instilling the value of healthy habits in America’s youth. IHRSA will keep members informed of updates on the bill’s progress.


FIT Kids Introduced in the Senate, IHRSA Signs Letter of Support

Senator Tom Harkin reintroduced the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids (FIT Kids) Act last week, following the May 23 introduction of the House version. FIT Kids would enhance physical education in America’s schools by adding more activity throughout the school day and funding measures needed to improve PE programs, and get teachers and parents more involved in students’ physical education. IHRSA has co-signed a letter (spearheaded by the American Heart Association) to Congress asking them to support the bill.

Childhood obesity is a serious problem. About 1 in 3 school-aged children are overweight or obese, which puts them at high risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many other chronic diseases. Increasing physical activity a critical component of reducing childhood obesity, yet many schools are cutting back on physical education programs. Only 3.8% of elementary, 7.9% of middle, and 2.1% of high schools provide daily physical education. 22% of schools do not require physical education at all.


IHRSA's Message Heard on The Hill

Social Media Catches On To IHRSA’s Message 

An IHRSA opinion piece on the importance of the PHYSICAL Act that was published on Monday on The Hill’s Congress blog has already made big social media waves this week. The bill’s sponsor, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), tweeted about it and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation included it in its daily digest newsletter. Read the op-ed here

The piece, “Giving PE The Respect it Deserves,” outlines the importance of the PHYSICAL Act. The bill seeks to elevate physical education to “core subject” status in U.S. school curriculum, which would provide these subjects with greater funding, and send a message about how critical regular physical activity is to America’s youth.

Social media is a powerful thing, especially for advocacy. Help us continue to spread the message by sharing the op-ed via Facebook (be sure to “like” us while you’re there) or Twitter.


PHYSICAL Act introduced in Congress

U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) has introduced legislation that elevates P.E. and health education as “core subjects” in federal education law. Classifying these subjects as core subjects, the Promoting Health as Youth Skills in Classroom and Life (PHYSICAL) Act, gives schools the option of using greater funding for related programs and professional development for teachers. 

“Over recent decades, time devoted to physical and health education has greatly diminished - and even been eliminated - in too many of our schools. With child obesity on the rise and the health of our children often declining, we must get our children moving again. That begins with access to physical activities and healthy behaviors in our schools,” Udall said in a press release. 

Numerous scientific studies have shown that students benefit on many levels from their participation in physical and health education activities. They improve student attendance, participation and enthusiasm for academic subjects, and reduce misbehavior and discipline problems. In addition, effective school health education reduces health risks for students, and helps them develop healthy habits for life.


Infographic: Status on Physical Education in the United States


With the proper education on the importance of exercise, healthy children become healthy adults. Still, numerous reports cite the drastic cuts being made to physical education classes.

Now, a study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says this is a big mistake. Attending a P.E. class every day would increase kids' daily physical activity by about 23 minutes, the study found (it might not seem like a big increase, but it would fulfill more than one-third of the total daily amount of exercise recommended by experts).

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recently published the following infographic on the disconcerting state of P.E. in U.S. schools. Help foster a generation of healthy children and adults by circulating this infographic.

Click here to view the full infographic. 


Rick Perry’s Exercise Mandate for Texas

What Does Rick Perry’s Exercise Mandate Say About His Presidential Agenda on Health and Wellness?

According to the Huffington Post, Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate, Rick Perry, signed a bill requiring all Texas students to engage in 30 minutes of exercise per day during the school year. “This legislation will help make children healthier today for a healthier Texas tomorrow," Perry said in 2007, when the law was enacted. 


House Committee Votes to Cut PEP Funding

Shortly after the Department of Education announced $78 million in funding for FY2011 physical education programming for America’s schools, the House Committee on Education & Workforce voted 23-16 to cut the funding from the FY2012 budget. The Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP), provides competitive grants to school districts and community organizations to offer high quality physical education to students and teach America’s youth about the importance of exercise and healthy living.

“It’s a tough time right now for health promotion legislation,” said Helen Durkin, Executive Vice President of Global Public Policy at IHRSA. “But I hope lawmakers will realize the positive economic and health impacts bills like PEP will have on our nation’s economy and well-being, especially of our children. They made the right choice for FY11 and I have faith that they will make the same decision for FY12.”

The bill is expected to pass the House of Representatives, however, the Senate has expressed strong opposition to the measure.


$78.8 Million in PEP Funding Approved

IHRSA is pleased to announce that earlier today, the U.S. Department of Education approved appropriations for the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) totaling $78.8 million for FY11. The funding supports efforts to improve the quality of P.E. in America’s schools.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with this news,” said IHRSA President and CEO Joe Moore. “IHRSA’s vision is one of a society that encourages primary prevention and healthy lifestyles, and this is a big step toward realizing that vision. Our nation’s children need—and deserve—quality physical education that will help them develop healthy habits and an appetite for physical activity."
IHRSA members met earlier this month in Washington, D.C. at the 9th Annual Summit for a Healthier America, to ask their members of Congress to continue funding for PEP. We would like to extend a large thank you to all those who participated and who helped drive support for continued funding. Your voices have been heard!