GYM Act revived to boost physical education standards in the sta - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

GYM Act revived to boost physical education standards in the state


Eau Claire (WQOW) - A Wisconsin state lawmaker hopes to revive the Get Youth Moving (GYM) Act proposal to increase schools' physical education standards.

Whether it's their favorite school subject, or excuse to tear away from a textbook, a proposed bill may give physical education fanatics the chance to go to the gym every day.

Within the Eau Claire Area School District, students hit the gym two to three times each week.

"We do everything we can to promote the health and well-being of our students, and that's why we have a very robust P.E. program now in our schools," ECASD Superintendent of Schools Mary Ann Hardebeck said.

Those classes help kids curb obesity, which affects one-third of school-age children nationwide.

"Obesity is something we need to be addressing in our community," Gina Schemenauer with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department said.

The Eau Claire County Health Department says children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, but less than 30 percent do.

"If you do have the physical fitness classes incorporated in the schools, then we maybe are able to up that amount of physical intensity," Schemenauer said.

The proposed GYM Act would boost elementary physical education classes in Wisconsin to the national recommendation of 30 minutes a day, every day.

"When these kind of bills pass, there is a cost associated with it for each school district, and sometimes we have to look to see, can we incorporate this without giving something else up," Hardebeck said.

Schools see practical problems in the way. Hardebeck said if the bill passes, instruction added to physical education could mean time taken away from other subjects, and could require adding addition staff to teach the extra classes.

This same act was introduced in the last legislative session, but ran out of time before lawmakers adjourned. Advocates hope the bill will have enough time to make it through the legislature this time around.

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