phys ed 082218SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by State Senator Linda Holmes (D – Aurora) to fight the growing epidemic of obesity in Illinois was vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner yesterday.

The measure, Senate Bill 2572, would require schools to provide a minimum of 150 minutes of physical education per school week for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

"Governor, why do you want to limit a school’s flexibility in scheduling PE?” Holmes asked. “It is still such a minimal amount of time for physical activity that impacts health with respect to obesity-related diseases and proven research on how exercise positively affects the brain and the ability to learn.”

 

“A greater and greater percentage of adults in Illinois are obese, and that number only keeps rising year after year,” Holmes said. “In the past we’ve set minimum requirements on a variety of subjects meant to keep students’ minds healthy, and with this we sought to do the same with a subject meant to keep their bodies healthy as well.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 33 percent of adults in Illinois were classified as overweight in 2016, and nearly 32 percent of adults were classified as obese. That adds up to a staggering 65 percent of adults in the state who are facing some type of weight problem.

“If we teach children how to live a healthy, active lifestyle from a young age, they’ll be more likely to continue that lifestyle as adults,” Holmes said. “It seems the governor isn’t interested in keeping students engaged in minimum efforts for physical and mental health.”

When the General Assembly school funding reform legislation was passed last August, it included provisions allowing schools to determine the schedule and frequency of physical education classes, provided it is offered a minimum of three days per week. The plan vetoed by Rauner would have retained the ability for schools to determine their own schedules as long as they meet the minimum amount of required hours.

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