P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2007
FLOWER MOUND -- Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, appeared today at a bill signing ceremony with Governor Rick Perry and Dr. Kenneth Cooper to highlight the need for a strong focus on health and fitness in our public schools.
The governor signed SB 530 by Senator Nelson, codifying the required 30 minutes of daily exercise for students in grades K-5 and, starting next fall, four out of six semesters for students in grades 6-8 with adjustable time options (30 minutes a day, 135 minutes during a school week, or 225 minutes over two school weeks). Also, annual fitness assessments will begin this year for students in grades 3-12.
"Everything we want our young people to achieve is contingent upon their basic health. We have to stop treating PE as optional because it is as fundamental to the success of our students as reading, writing and arithmetic," Senator Nelson, a former teacher who chairs the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, said.
The obesity problem in Texas has been well documented. According to a national report issued this week by the Trust for National Health, 19.1 percent of Texans 10-17 are obese, putting them at risk of serious chronic illnesses. Texas ranked 6th in the percentage of obese children, ahead of Mississippi, which has the highest overall obesity rate.
Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the father of aerobics and a pioneer in preventive medicine, was instrumental in the passage of SB 530 this session. "Senate Bill 530 is a victory for children across Texas. It signals an important commitment to improving the health of our children, which will help jumpstart a decrease in the alarming obesity problem and improve academic achievement statewide," Dr. Cooper said.