According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 12 million children between the ages of 2 to 19 are considered obese in the U.S.
In the past decade, those numbers have remained stable. To help combat obesity in children in the state of Maryland, a bill was introduced to the State House Ways and Means Committee that would require students in public elementary schools to exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.
“It literally helps grow a greater brain in our children. It increases the oxygen rich blood that is in your brain, which helps reduce impulses. It helps maintain attention to the task that they’re working on,” said Kim Clifford, Principal of Oakdale Elementary School.
Students at Oakdale Elementary School exercise with a physical education teacher for at least for 80 minutes a week. Clifford believes that incorporating more exercise time will be beneficial to students.
“The more we can incorporate movement in physical education, it’s going to be a win-win situation for both teachers and students,” Clifford said.
Students at Oakdale Elementary School learn how to eat healthy and the benefits of working out, and teachers said it benefits them both inside and outside the classroom.
“Working as a team, working on communication skills and positive reinforcement with each other. I believe physical activity will teach our kids about life in general and about discipline,” said Run Wolfe, physical education teacher at Oakdale Elementary School.
The bill will be heard by the House Education Sub Committee and if it passes, it will be voted on by the House as a whole.
The Maryland State House of Representatives has until March 21 to decide on this bill before it heads to the State Senate.