Measure would impose required physical activity times

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO)-- At Orchard Avenue Elementary, kids dribble, hula and skip around during gym class. Elementary physical education coordinator for district 51, Sandy Thies says it's an important part of everyday activities. "Studies have found that kids who do physical activity can pay better attention in their classroom. It has shown to decrease tendencies for kids who have hyperactive or attention deficit disorders," she says.

Now the state legislature is looking to pass a law that would require all grade schools to plan for a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity a week. Thies says, "At Orchard Avenue School kids get 45 minutes of recess a day added to the 30 minutes twice a week." That physical activity includes recess, P.E. and any exercise breaks taken during class. Not a tough standard by any means for most schools to meet. "The other piece that we focus on is fitness and health pieces. What kinds of foods do we eat to keep our bodies healthy?" says Thies.

Should this bill score in the legislature, districts would then have to report their physical activity program to state officials but with the government slashing funding, education officials say it's just another case of doing more with less.

While District 51 already meets proposed standards, Thies believes the idea is a good one.
"So that when they get older they can go into lifetime activities,” says Thies.

According to a 2009 study by the State Department of Health and Environment one in four Colorado kids are obese or overweight. The measure is expected to be heard in the house education committee in the next few weeks.

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