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Oklahoma State Senate
Senator Mary Easley
Senate District 18
Mayes, Tulsa and Wagoner counties

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For Immediate Release: March 4, 2008

Sen. Mary Easley
Sen. Mary Easley

Senate Passes Easley Bill On Physical Education Requirements

The Oklahoma State Senate approved legislation Tuesday encouraging schools to increase its physical fitness activities to help ensure a healthy start in life for Oklahoma school children.

Senate Bill 1186, authored by State Senator Mary Easley, D-Tulsa, would integrate an additional hour of physical activity each week in addition to the hour of physical education already mandated by law. It modifies the requirements for physical education in full-day kindergarten and grades one through five, by adding an additional 60 minutes weekly of physical activity, which may include, but not limited to, physical education, exercise programs, fitness breaks, recess, and classroom activities, and wellness and nutrition education.

Senator Easley said the bill shows good judgment and responsibility by allowing each school district’s board of education to determine the specific activities and means of compliance for this requirement and give consideration to the recommendations of each school’s Healthy and Fit Schools Advisory Committee as submitted to the school principal. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“Over the last few years, schools across Oklahoma and the nation have seen a decrease in physical activity within the school day,” Easley said. “As a result, more of our children are obese, creating a potential health crisis in the future. We have a great responsibility to try and reverse this course. This bill is a good beginning to a healthier Oklahoma.”

According to statistics from the Oklahoma FIT KIDS Coalition, 15 percent of Oklahoma teenagers are considered “severely overweight or obese” – a 300 percent increase in the past 20 years; only 37 percent of Oklahoma students are enrolled in physical education compared to 55.7 percent nationally and 44.7 percent of Oklahoma children spend an average of 2 to 3 hours watching television or playing video games on an average school day, compared with 37.7 nationally.

“We need to better understand how important physical activity is to not only our children, but our entire state.” Easley said. “A structured regiment of physical activity makes happier and healthier children. Oklahoma needs to better invest in its future, and making a healthier generation of Oklahomans is a wise and responsible investment that will pay dividends for years to come.”

For more information contact:
Senator Easley's Office:  (405) 521-5590

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