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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: February 12, 2008

Senator Mary Easley
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 necessary.”

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,” said Canada.

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

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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