This week Colorado’s House of Representatives passed House Bill 1069, a bipartisan measure requiring all public elementary schools to provide students with a minimum of 600 minutes of physical activity a month, or approximately 30 minutes per school day.  LiveWell Colorado supports this bill, along with many of our partners including the Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado Children’s Campaign, and the Colorado Public Health Association among others.  The bill is sponsored by State Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, and Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora.

The bill is an important step in addressing Colorado’s rapidly rising childhood obesity rate and helping students succeed in school.   Between 2003 and 2007, Colorado’s childhood obesity national ranking dropped from 3rd leanest to 23rd, and Colorado’s childhood obesity rate is now rising at the second-fastest rate in the nation.

While, ideally, LiveWell Colorado would like to see structured physical education and 30 to 60 minutes of daily physical activity in every Colorado school, we understand the financial challenges to making that a reality today and believe this bill is a good first step. 

It also sets the stage for organizations like LiveWell Colorado to continue providing tools, training and other assistance for incorporating more physical activity in the school day. And the measures don’t need to be costly or disruptive. Many LiveWell communities are already making strides in increasing physical activity in schools.  For example, in Pueblo and Fort Collins, teachers use an inexpensive deck of ‚Äòactivity cards’ to get kids moving in the classroom during a lesson. In Longmont, schools are creatively painting pavement with hopscotch and other games to encourage kids to be more active during recess and after school. 

A recent poll reported that 86 percent of Colorado voters indicated that they would support requiring 30 minutes of physical education each day in Colorado’s schools.  The public will is strong to get our kids moving more in school, and we support HB 1069 as an important step to prevent childhood obesity.