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

January 10, 2002
Contact: Dave Nelson
(972) 724-0066

Senator Nelson to State Board of Education:
'Return Daily Exercise to the School Day in Texas'

FLOWER MOUND - A dramatic rise in juvenile diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses will only worsen if the State Board of Education fails to implement the necessary rules to return PE to the school day in Texas, State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, warned tonight as the vote loomed on rules implementing Senate Bill 19.

Under this legislation authored by Senator Nelson and approved in the 2001 legislative session, the SBOE was directed to adopt rules requiring that students in elementary school receive at least 30 minutes of physical activity during the school day. Reports out of the SBOE indicate that certain members want to eliminate the daily requirement and merely direct school districts to ensure that exercise is part of the curriculum.

"We are up against a major health epidemic among our youth, and I fully expect the State Board to live up to its responsibility to protect the health of our children. The Legislature instructed them to return daily exercise to the curriculum, and that is what they need to do," Senator Nelson said. "Our children are in bad shape. Doctors are treating in young adolescents a form of diabetes usually only found in 45-year-old men, and that is directly related to inactivity and obesity. Our kids need our help."

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: