MADISON (AP) - A bill being drafted by a state legislator would raise physical education requirements for younger Wisconsin students.
Wisconsin spends approximately $3 billion annually in health care costs related to obesity, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. One in four Wisconsin high schools students is overweight or obese and the state's adult obesity rate has doubled since 1990, DHS statistics showed.
Republican Rep. Chad Weininger said his legislation is aimed at those "unfortunate" statistics. It would add 30 to 45 minutes of daily physical activity for kindergarten through eighth grade if students are not enrolled in a gym class.
Currently, kindergarten through sixth-grade students have physical education classes three times a week. Seventh- and eighth-graders have class once a week. High schoolers must earn 1.5 credits of physical education in order to graduate.
"What we're seeing is that's really not working anymore. Society is changing," Weininger said. Parents are working longer days and instead of playing a game of pickup basketball, children go home, grab a snack and sit in front of the TV, he told the State Journal.
Weininger planned to have the legislation completed by the first day of school next September because he wanted to ensure the language provides school districts with flexibility in implementing the requirement so that it doesn't interfere with academics.
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