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Monday, October 25, 2010

Legislators and American Heart Association honored with Awards from the MNAHPERD at their Annual Conference

Rep. Bob Dettmer * Sen. Terri Bonoff * Rep. Kim Norton

The Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MNAHPERD) is honored to recognize Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka), Rep. Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester), and Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) with their Health and Fitness Advocacy Award. MNAHPERD honors Bonoff, Norton, and Dettmer for their leadership in making policy to help Minnesota’s youth grow up to be healthy adults.

Rep. Bob Dettmer, Rep. Kim Norton and Sen. Terri Bonoff led the charge last year to form a childhood obesity working group. The recommendations of that working group led to the creation and successful passage of the Healthy Kids/Physical Education Bill. The bill guarantees that every Minnesota child meets quality physical education standards and has the opportunity to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day as well as healthier food options at school.

“It's crucial to hold schools to high standards in regard to academic outcomes in all content areas." says Mary Thissen-Milder, President of MNAHPERD. “However, there also needs to be a balance. We need our schools to be healthy places for our students.“

Summary of the Minnesota Healthy Kids/Physical Education Bill
• Adoption of NASPE Physical Education Standards as Minnesota’s statewide standards
• Minnesota Dept. of Education will develop best practices to promote active recess.
• Minnesota Dept. of Education is encouraged to include physical education classes, district physical education standards, and local physical education graduation requirements that districts offer as part of the Minnesota common course catalogue.
• Establishment of a Healthy Kids Awards program to reward schools that promote better nutrition and physical activity for their students. Schools meeting the criteria will have a designation or recognition on the School Report Card that the school is a Healthy Kids Award school.
• School wellness policies are required to be posted online so that parents may access them and take an active role in implementing them.
• Authorize the Complete Streets proposal to ensure safer roadways for bicyclists, pedestrians, and children walking/biking to school which would encourage physical activity and safety.

The Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance is honored to recognize Rachel Callanan and Shep Harris with the Presidential Award. MNAHPERD honors Rachel and Shep for their personal dedication to navigate the legislative process to recommend policy change that impacts the health and well being of Minnesota youth.

Through tireless efforts, over years of challenges, Rachel and Shep stayed focused on their primary goal of reinstating statewide physical education standards in Minnesota. Through their leadership, the Minnesota Healthy Kids Coalition was formed to deepen grassroot support for physical education. MNAHPERD was one of over 25 agencies, organizations and higher education institutions to support this effort.

By utilizing their expertise of the political process, Rachel and Shep brought together informed partners, created fact sheets and press releases, initiated email action alerts, facilitated Days on the Hill, hosted in-district meetings, and organized testimony for legislative committee hearings. Their constant presence at the capitol was a continual reminder to policy makers of the importance of physical education. In the summer of 2010, the decision was made to form a bipartisan childhood obesity working group that was chaired by key legislators who also identified children’s health as a priority. Senator Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka), Representative Kim Norton (DFL-Rochester), and Representative Bob Dettmer led the working group and utilized the opportunity to educate their fellow policy leaders and make a legislative plan. Rachel and Shep played key roles in identifying critical information that was shared in this process.

The final product was the passage of the Minnesota Healthy Kids Act that not only reinstated statewide physical education standards, but also identified other school based actions that would positively impact the health of Minnesota’s youth.

Even though both Rachel and Shep will clearly state that there is more work to be done, MNAHPERD is proud to take a moment to recognize their hard work. This is a success story to be celebrated.

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