Health group wants change requiring PE in schools | NevadaAppeal.com

Health group wants change requiring PE in schools

The Nevada Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance has begun a petition drive that would require schools to offer daily physical education classes.

R.R. Apache, an assistant professor in the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Department of Sports Education Leadership, said since Nevada made PE classes optional, most school districts have greatly reduced the amount of time students spend exercising.

“More and more kids are becoming obese, overweight, inactive,” he said. “We want to turn that tide around.”

He said the petition filed with the Secretary of State’s Office would put the requirement into Nevada’s Constitution to “make it a priority.”

To get a spot on the 2006 general election ballot, they will have to collect 83,184 signatures of registered Nevada voters and turn them in to the Secretary of state’s elections division by June 20.

Apache said the proposed amendment would require every pupil from kindergarten through grade 12 , including those with disabilities and those in alternative education programs, participate in daily physical education each school year. It would require at least 150 minutes each school week in elementary school and at least 250 minutes a week for middle and high schoolers – one full class period each day.

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It mandates at least half of class time be spent in actual physical activity and calls for multiple and diverse activities that meet needs of all pupils and account for gender and cultural differences.

Apache said the in addition to reducing obesity among pupils, physical activity has been shown to improve academic performance.

He said several academics at UNLV are working on a fiscal note spelling out what the proposal would cost. That cost estimate is required to be provided to voters as part of the ballot question.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.