Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Fax (512) 463-0923

May 22, 2001
Contact: Dave Nelson
(512) 463-0112


AUSTIN - The Texas House today gave preliminary approval to Senate Bill 19, authored by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, to combat record obesity levels and an alarming rise in diabetes among adolescents by returning physical exercise to the school day in Texas. The bill faces a final vote on third reading before returning to the Senate with amendments.

"Our children are experiencing serious health problems that are usually only diagnosed in 45-year-old men, and obesity is the primary reason. Far too many of our children are sitting at their desks all day at school and in front of TVs or computers all night, failing to get the exercise they need to be healthy," Senator Nelson said. "We must take action to reverse this frightening health trend, and we need to teach our children to take care of their bodies. This lesson is as fundamental as reading and writing."

Specifically, the bill directs the State Board of Education to implement rules requiring daily exercise for Texas public school students in grades K - 6. Limiting the bill to elementary school students removed the fiscal impact as elementary teachers are already PE certified during the certification process. The bill also directs TEA to provide school districts with a coordinated health program, including health education, exercise, nutrition and parental involvement.

PE currently is not required for students below grade 9. Students must receive 1.5 credits of PE as part of graduation requirements. It was a daily requirement for grades K-4 and a weekly requirement for Grades 5-6 before the 1995 reform of the Texas Education Code, but no daily or weekly requirements exist today. Consider also that:

Senator Nelson represents Senate District 12, which includes Dallas, Denton, Ellis and Tarrant counties.