Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

AHA volunteer's letter published in Star Tribune: Schools need to push physical education

Schools need to push physical education
Star Tribune, 4/15/09

The Star Tribune April 9 editorial, "The battle of the bulge is being fought by the preschool set," was spot-on. This problem is not caused by all of us making poor decisions; we've collectively created an environment that encourages too much "energy in" and not enough "energy out."

Right here in Minnesota, our economy lost $1.3 billion in obesity-related medical costs in 2003. If this trend continues, it's projected that obesity-related problems, including cardiovascular disease, will cost an extra $1 billion in 2010.

These statistics are overwhelming. But there is something simple we, as Minnesotans, can do to stop our spiraling obesity epidemic -- both for the sake of our health, ours kids' health and the health of our economy.

As the editorial states, obesity can be controlled by instilling lifelong, healthy habits in our children, starting with physical education and activity. Since our children are in school for much of the week, it only makes sense to include physical education as an important part of their curriculum.

Since 2003, Minnesota is one of only three states not to have PE standards, and, as a result, it is one of the things on the chopping block for school curriculums in these recent years of budget cuts. Further, research has shown that students who participate in quality physical education have higher academic performance.

A bill that would establish statewide standards for physical education and reinstate a half-credit graduation requirement has been introduced in the Legislature every year since 2003, yet fails to be made law. Why? Because we haven't told legislators that it is a priority.

So tell your legislator. It is a win-win for kids, schools, families and the physical and financial health of our state.


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