Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: February 12, 2008
Sen. Mary Easley
Bill Encourages More Physical Activity in Schools
State Sen. Mary
Easley says research shows that children learn better when they
are physically active. For this reason, she has authored Senate
Bill 1186, which passed the Senate Education Committee Monday, to
encourage schools to integrate an additional hour of physical activity
each week in addition to the hour of physical education already
mandated by law.
"I don’t want to mandate further physical activity for
our public schools, but simply bring awareness to how important
it is for our children’s mental and physical well being,”
said Easley, D-Tulsa. “Kids have difficulty sitting for hours.
They need to get up and move around. Many of our schools are encouraging
physical activity throughout the day, but many are not. Children
who are physically active learn better and are healthier overall,
and that makes for more successful students.”
Easley was joined by 2007-2008 Teacher of the Year Stephanie Canada,
an elementary physical education teacher in Shawnee. Canada pointed
out that her elementary school easily integrates the additional
hour of time into their weekly schedule through walking programs,
contests and other things before school when kids are dropped off
for breakfast and through short exercise DVDs and other activities
that can be done in the classroom throughout the day.
“This type of additional activity energizes their brain and
body and continues to help them learn effectively throughout the
day,” said Canada. “In recent years, we’ve seen
a decline in physical activity within the school day because of
the high stakes testing. This bill is about renewing a focus on
physical activity, which we know with our obesity rates within our
elementary children, within our schools and within our state is
Canada further pointed out research from the State Department of
Health’s Schools for Healthy Lifestyles Program that shows
that participating schools are easily going beyond the sixty minutes
required for physical education and seeing tremendous benefits in
the classroom and in the children’s health.
“There is statistical research from this program through our
fitness testing that shows it is making a difference within the
lives of children. We are increasing their fitness levels, lowering
BMIs and making a difference through added physical activity,”
Easley said the bill would allow each school district’s Fit
and Healthy Committee to develop its own programs and decide how
best to implement those into the school day. The measure would apply
to all-day kindergarten through fifth grade.
SB 1186 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
For more information contact:
Senator Easley's Office: (405) 521-5590