COLUMBUS (TDB) -- State Sen. Randy Gardner says Ohio needs a law forcing schools to conduct meaningful physical education classes for kids that would start in kindergarten and continue through 6th grade. The Bowling Green Republican filed S.B. 118 with six cosponsors this week. He's acting at a time when kids are growing fatter and adults seem to be increasingly inactive. Indeed, more than a quarter of Ohioans say they don't get any execise at all in a typical week.
Gardner is a Realtor who is term-limited out of office next year. The text of the measure is HERE. It mandates "daily, high-quality instruction involving a combination of physical activity and content instruction in each of grades kindergarten to six."
He's probably on to something. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says American kids have turned into human butterballs in recent years. Only 4% of children aged 6-11 were obese in the early 1970s. By this decade, 18.8% were overweight. In other words, the nation is awash in blubber.
As a whole, Ohio is slightly less flabbier than the U.S. But Columbus has more obesity (25.6%) than either Cleveland or Cincinnati. Columbus also has a lot of diabetes, and a survey presented to a pharmaceutical trade group in Las Vegas this week shows it ranks 4th in the U.S. for the highest incidence of residents who purchased medicine for diabetes. Obesity is suspected of leading to diabetes.
But more troubling about Ohio's lifestyle is CDC data showing it is a state with a SEDENTARY population. More than a fourth of Ohioans say they get no exercise at all during a week. Such massive inactivity is unhealthy, and helps explain the obesity epidemic.
Click to see more CDC data about America's OVERWEIGHT KIDS.
Gardner wants K-6 daily exercise standards developed by the Ohio Board of Education. He says the program can be picked up by July from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. And he wants a czar -- or statewide physical education coordinator -- on staff at the state's board's curriculum office. To learn more check out the P.E. association's latest Shape Of The Nation report. It helps explain why there seem to be to be so many fat kids around these days.