Let’s Move! Active Schools Initiative Launched in the US



The Let's Move! Active Schools national initiative encourages schools to help children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity throughout the day. First lady Michelle Obama announced the launch of Let's Move! Active Schools in Chicago on February 28, 2013 and already schools in Illinois, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, have been recognized for providing their students with the opportunity to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. According to the Let's Move Active Schools Campaign an active school is one that seeks to increase opportunities for: physical education; physical activity during school; physical activity before and after school; staff involvement; and family and community engagement. Let's Move! Active Schools will leverage opportunities offered through ...

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Keeping FitnessGram (A Fitness Assessment Tool) in Texas Schools



Since 2008, students enrolled in Texas Public Schools have had their fitness levels assessed using FitnessGram--a tool that provides useful information to parents, teachers, and administrators and helps inform decisions about physical education and physical activity requirements for students. FitnessGram is an annual fitness test that yields a fitness report card, with information about a student's aerobic capacity, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. It can help decision makers decide what type of physical activity programs are needed and where funding for programs should be allocated.   Lauren Dimitry of Texans Care for Children speaks on why it is important to keep FitnessGram in Texas ...

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A Campus Improvement Plan to Increase Physical Activity in Texas Public Schools



During the 83rd Texas Legislative Session Rep. Diane Patrick (R-Arlington) introduced a bill (H.B. 1018), that would require Texas public schools to create a campus improvement plan with goals to improve physical activity and fitness. Campus improvement plans would be required to include goals to increase physical activity and fitness among students; student fitness assessment data, and would require all school health advisory councils (SHAC) to establish a physical activity and fitness planning subcommittee. Once implemented, the bill would require SHACs to include recommendations made by the physical activity and fitness subcommittee, in a annual written report. The full text to H.B. 1018, which would require a campus improvement plan to improve physical activity and fitness at Texas ...

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The Healthy Zone School Recognition Program for Students in Dallas Texas



The Cooper Institute and United Way Metropolitan Dallas have collaborated to form the Healthy Zone School Program. The Healthy Zone School Recognition Program encourages schools to implement policies and initiatives to help fight childhood obesity, in the Dallas area. In order to be a part of the program, schools must go through a competitive selection procedure. To be considered for the program a school must demonstrate that it: promotes healthy eating; provides various opportunities for children to participate in physical activity; provides physical education that lives up to the standards of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education; and has established a School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) that is comprised of various stakeholders. If a school lacks any ...

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HEB Community Challenge: A Statewide Healthy Lifestyle Initiative of It’s Time Texas



Competitions like the HEB Community Challenge prompt communities to make healthy lifestyle changes, and help raise awareness of childhood obesity. In 2012, a total of 38 mayors across Texas and several school officials recorded videos asking members of their community to participate in this state wide challenge. A total of 324 communities were enlisted in the challenge and 14,517 individuals were engaged in the effort to make their community a healthier one. At the end of the competition the winning cities of the challenge were San Antonio, Brownsville, and Pflugerville. This video showcases the top nine scoring communities in the H-E-B Community Challenge. One winner was selected from a small, medium, or large city. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4sdcm2qUsw Not only did the Healthy ...

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Houston ISD Drafting New Wellness Policy



Houston Independent School District (HISD) in Texas is further addressing the growing issue of childhood obesity by creating a well rounded wellness policy. "The new Houston ISD wellness policy, currently being drafted by the School Health Advisory Council [SHAC], will directly address the use of food as a classroom reward (as well the equally distressing use of exercise as a punishment)." says Bettina Siegel, author of the blog The Lunch Tray The USDA has been increasing policies on school foods and competitive foods, by making nutrition standards for school meals in the past, and are currently creating standards for competitive foods in school snack lines. However schools or districts themselves must take the next steps in changing their policies on standards for fundraisers, ...

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20 Minutes of Guaranteed Recess for Children Approved by New Jersey Senate



According to a news report, The Association for Childhood Education International estimates that 40% of US schools have reduced or eliminated recess and this number may be even higher among high-minority, underserved populations. Although, recess is a vital component of a child's development and physical activity time, students are not always provided with recess on a daily basis. Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer) of New Jersey recently sponsored a bill that would guarantee children at least 20 minutes a day of recess time. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, children should be getting at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity. In this App.com op-ed, three individuals discuss their support for ...

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A Program to Recognize Texas Public Schools With Successful Health and Fitness Programs



At the 2013 Texas Legislature, Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) introduced SB 65, as a way to recognize schools for creating a healthy environment. If this bill were to be enacted schools would be recognized with a bronze, silver, or gold, award according to the success of their school's fitness program. Private and non-profit entities would be allowed to provide donations and incentives to schools that receive healthy school recognition. According to the Texas Legislature Online, SB 65 was referred to public education and no action was taken in committee. Read the full text to SB 65, which would have provided recognition to schools with a healthy school ...

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A Requirement for Six Semesters of Physical Activity at Middle Schools in Texas



In February of 2013, Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) filed SB 525, a bill that would increase physical activity requirements for middle school students (grades 6-8th). Students would be required to take six semesters of physical activity rather than the current requirement of only four semesters. Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) filed a companion bill HB 277, which includes the same provisions as SB 525. The bills, which would increase physical education requirements for students and require at least 30 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity, 135 minutes per week, or (if the district uses block scheduling) 225 minutes of bi-weekly physical activity, failed to pass during the 2013 Legislative ...

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