University of South Carolina

Exercise scientist touts PE to Senate committee

USC exercise scientist Dr. Russell Pate said that his 25 years of research experience underscores the need for the FIT Kids Act, a congressional proposal encouraging quality physical education and activity for all public school children through grade 12.

Russ Pate
Russ Pate

The Arnold School professor testified Tuesday (May 18) in support of the legislation during a Capitol Hill hearing of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, chaired by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-IA.

The FIT (Fitness Integrated with Teaching) Kids Act, which has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, includes amendments to the No Child Left Behind Act that encourage public schools to provide regular and quality physical education and activity and hold schools accountable for meeting national standards.

Pate said his years of research and service on national panels and federal advisory committees on physical activity and prevention of childhood obesity have led him to conclude:

  • "To achieve and maintain good health our young people should engage in 60 or more minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day.
  • "The vast majority of American children and youth do not meet that guideline; indeed, most do not come close to meeting it.
  • "If our students are to meet physical activity guidelines and accrue the associated health benefits, our schools must deliver physical activity programs of the highest quality.
  • "An essential step toward ensuring that our schools effectively provide and promote physical activity in their students is to hold those schools accountable for providing physical education and other physical activity programs that meet best-practice standards."
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