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American Heart Association Urges Wisconsin to Measure Physical Education Class Time

Press Release from American Heart Association

MADISON, Wis., June 5, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Childhood obesity is an epidemic. The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that one in three children is overweight or obese. Obesity at a young age can cause a lifetime of health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, increased risk for heart attack and stroke and depression. But there is a solution that can ensure kids learn to live a healthier life: physical activity.

The AHA says one of the best ways to ensure children are physically active is through physical education classes at school. Physical education has been shown to help students academically, improve cognitive skills and behavior. P.E. also teaches children the necessary life skills to live a healthy life.

"It is essential to teach kids healthy habits early in life since the best way to treat cardiovascular disease is to prevent it in the first place," said Dr. Jane Pearson of SSM Health in Madison, Wisconsin.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is a strong link between a child's increased physical fitness levels and their academic performance. Children who get the recommended 60 minutes of moderate activity a day achieve higher test scores, less absenteeism and fewer behavioral issues.

Right now, there is no indicator of how much physical education a student receives in Wisconsin. Wisconsin lawmakers and the State Superintendent are considering changes to school report cards and could add a measure around PE in schools alongside other items that are already recorded like graduation rates.

"Parents need to know how much physical education is being provided for their children in school," said Brad Gast, a Marathon County father of three. "By ensuring schools are tracking and reporting on the school report cards how many PE minutes their students are receiving on a weekly basis, we would be showing a commitment to student wellness in Wisconsin. I urge Wisconsin lawmakers and the State Superintendent to add a metric like this for the health of our kids."

Wisconsin residents have the opportunity to weigh in on this issue through the Department of Public Instruction. People can submit their own comments on this process through June 30th here:

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SOURCE American Heart Association

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