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HOUSE VOTES TO STRENGTHEN PHYSICAL EDUCATION
AUSTIN — The Texas House of Representatives today approved SB 891 by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, with the goal of improving the health of Texas' youth, more than 40% percent of whom are either overweight or obese and at risk of developing chronic illnesses. The bill now returns to the Senate with amendments.
"The goal of this bill is to make sure physical education is defined in a way that will provide a true health benefit to students. We also need to make sure that the curriculum progresses through the grade levels so that our young people grow up with an education that has taught them how to lead healthy lifestyles," Senator Nelson said.
SB 891 defines physical education in state law to ensure that students receive an actual health benefit and that the instruction is "sequential," meaning there is a progression from year to year. As amended, it also requires 30 minutes of daily exercise for students in pre-kindergarten.
Also today, the House passed on second reading SB 283 by Senator Nelson, clarifying the role of school health advisory councils. The bill calls for these councils to meet at least four times a year and submit a report to the local school board on physical education, nutrition and health issues. The bill also stipulates that a parent must serve as chair or co-chair.
"It is very important that we involve parents in the health and nutrition policies in our school districts. This bill provides greater structure in the make-up and function of these councils," Senator Nelson said.
Still pending in the House are SB 282 by Senator Nelson, establishing nutrition and nutrition education grants for schools, pre-kindergarten and community or faith-based youth organizations, and SB 892 by Senator Nelson, directing schools to report on the progress of their coordinated school health programs to local school boards via Campus Improvement Plans.
SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.