INDIANAPOLIS — Doctors and fitness experts agree that the more you move, the healthier you are.
State Sen.Dennis Kruse (R-District 14) said that’s the principle behind his proposed legislation.
“I met with the Indiana State Medical Association and they are very concerned with obesity,” Kruse said.
Kruse is sponsoring a bill currently in the Senate Committee for Education and Career Development that would require 30 minutes of physical activity each day for Indiana students in grades K-12.
He said right now there are no standardized Physical Education requirements statewide.
“One of the schools in my area doesn’t even have P.E. or recess and it was an uproar in the community,” said Kruse.
Senate Bill 0333 [text here] would require each public and charter school to do at least 30 minutes of physical education a day for students as part of a class or part of recess. The time could be split into two 15 minute sessions. The bill would also require schools to report heath and fitness data to the State Department of Health and to teach students about Body Mass Index.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indiana is the 8th most obese state. About 16 percent of adolescents are considered overweight. Roughly 14 percent of young children are obese.
Kruse said research shows physical activity also helps students perform better in other classes.
“Healthier students, higher academic performance and more balanced life style so that our young people understand that getting exercise is important,” Kruse said.
Megan Spoonemore, a P.E. teacher in the North Salem school district agreed.
“I think that the kids who are able to be up and be active can focus better when they’re in the classroom, even sitting for eight hours a day for an adult is hard,” she said.
Spoonemore said her students at Pittsboro Elementary School are getting 155 minutes of physical activity a week. She’d be on board with getting students 30 minutes a day.
“The Kids who want to be physically active are always going to be physically active. It’s the kids who need that little bit of a push that need something they really like to get them up and doing something. Even if it’s just walking, it’s better than sitting and doing nothing,” she said.
Kruse said he didn’t want to take time away from other subjects, so the bill would actually extend the school day by 30 minutes to make room for the extra fitness time. He said he can see that becoming an issue for the bill moving forward.
Another big obstacle could be money, as many districts are already facing tight budgets and spending cuts.
“I don’t know how it’s going to happen because I’m not sure with funding and teacher cuts and pay that [districts] can work it in. But the kids think it’s a great idea, so if it can work out, I think it sounds great,” Spoonemore said.