The Century Council recognizes the important role that parents play in educating young people about making healthy decisions, especially when it involves saying no to underage drinking. We also believe that teachers, coaches and athletic directors serve as mentors and effective role models who reiterate these messages about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Encouraging America’s kids to get more exercise and eat healthier has become a national priority, as illustrated by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. A number of states are considering legislation to increase physical activity and education in schools.
The Virginia General Assembly is the first among state legislatures this year to pass such an effort. The bills were sponsored by physicians – Delegate John O’Bannon (R-Henrico) and Senator Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk) – and expand physical education in public schools. According to The Washington Post, a spokesman for Governor Robert F. McDonnell (R) said he would review the legislation before deciding whether to sign it into law. Virginia’s First Lady, Maureen McDonnell, is an advocate for kids health and fitness and works with the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth on the issue of childhood obesity.
Debate has centered mainly on the fiscal impact of the bill and potential implications for schools. Opponents such as the Virginia Education Association say this legislation will require additional teachers on an already reduced school budget.
Groups including the American Heart Association support the measure because it ultimately reduces obesity-related costs to society and they maintain the legislation does not modify staffing standards. We are certainly interested in the outcome!
On issues of wellness through physical activity, The Century Council is proud to partner with PE4life and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). We encourage you to learn more about youth fitness at Ask, Listen, Learn!