LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Since 1990, the obesity rate for Wisconsin adults has more than doubled, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Obesity isn't only a health problem. DHS estimates the cost of obesity in Wisconsin to be $3.1 billion dollars each year.
Rep. Chad Weininger, (R)-WI 4th District, hopes to combat the problem at an early age.
He's drafting a bill that requires daily physical activity for elementary and middle school students.
"When I was in school, after school we'd go play kickball or baseball or basketball," Weininger said. "Now when kids get home they usually sit down and grab a bag of chips and play video games."
Currently the Department of Public Instruction requires grades kindergarten through sixth to have physical education three times a week. This bill would require elementary students have 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
Grades seven and eight are currently required to have one day of physical activity a week. The bill would require middle school students to have 45 minutes of physical activity each day.
"Studies show that 10 minutes of physical activity could definitely help children in one period. So it may be not a full 30 minutes one day, but it may be broken up throughout the day," Weininger said.
La Crosse School District Physical Education and Health Curriculum Supervisor, Eric Check, wants his students to stay active.
"Being physically active you can help build self-confidence. Documentation and studies show a physically active individual tends to perform better on tests," Check said.
And he knows the DHS stat: more than 1 in 4 Wisconsin adults are obese.
This potential bill falls in line with Check's plans to teach kids to lead healthy lives. But he said implementing the bill may pose some obstacles.
"There would be challenges," Check said. "I know within our district we definitely would be creative, we would be innovative. We'd have to work toward ‘how do we fit that in with all the other mandates?'"
Weininger said he has a working draft of the bill, but nothing formal, yet.
He working with some stakeholders to see what type of legislation will work best with schools, he added.
Weininger hopes to present formal legislation to the assembly in the next several weeks.
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