If Alabama educators could perform simple arithmetic they could add 2 + 2 and get 4, and could see that high school students + physical education = healthier kids who are better able to learn in school.
But they are resisiting a proposal by Rep. Ken Guin to add PE to high school curriculums. Guin says "Alabama is one of the most obese states in the nation. For children born in Alabama in 2000, there is a one in three chance they will be diabetic."
Sally Howard, executive director if the Alabama Association of School Boards says the proposal would cost too much ($47 billion) and take time away from academic courses. Of course, she completely ignores that giving children an opportunity to exercise during the day would make them better learners and that healthier kids who are not missing school due to health issues and who feel better would also perform better.
In addition, does she not realize that not turning out kids with current and future diabetes and hypertension (and other conditions linked to obesity) would save the state millions of dollars in health care costs?..enough I am sure to pay for the cost of PE teachers.
In today's paper also is an expert opinion by Dr. David Calhoun, medical director of UAB's Vascular Biology Hypertension Program. We all know (at least 50 % of us know, according to the article) that hypertension is associated with stroke and heart disease. But 76 % of us are not worried about getting high blood pressure, even though almost everyone eventually gets it.
Dr. Calhoun tells us that high blood pressure is associated with obesity and physical inactivity, and lifestyle changes such as weight loss and increased physical activity are part of our defense against it. But lifestyle changes are difficult to make, and kids who learn in high school that being physically inactive is the preferred lifestyle are unlikely to begin to be active when they enter college or the work force.
I don't know what the chances of this bill passing are, but it would be a shame to miss this opportunity to affect the health of our children and our state by ignoring this issue. Let's push for passage of this bill.