Ortiz Works to Ensure School Districts are In Compliance With Physical Education Requirements

February 1, 2008
(Albany) – Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (Brooklyn), sponsor of the state’s first Childhood Obesity Prevention Act, participated in a public hearing yesterday regarding the enforcement of the physical education requirement in school districts throughout the state. The hearing was held by the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Education.

Ortiz, who has introduced legislation to enhance physical education requirements in all elementary and secondary schools, A.3825, is optimistic about this push for the enforcement of already existing requirements, and sees this as another step in the right direction in the battle against childhood obesity.

Ortiz stated, “I have been working on obesity prevention issues for years now, and my physical education legislation is an important part of my plan to end childhood obesity in our state. I am both encouraged and hopeful, that the attention is finally being given to physical education in our schools.”

Assemblyman Ortiz’s legislation which was first introduced in 2004, has the support of the American Heart Association, and is currently pending in the Assembly Education Committee.

The legislation presents a comprehensive new plan for physical education including provisions such as: lowering the required age for physical education in all public and private elementary schools; ensuring that the student to teacher ratio for physical education is consistent with the student to teacher ratio for other curricular areas; requiring daily physical education for grades K-8; and requiring that students in elementary schools participate in physical education a minimum of 150 minutes during each school week and that students in secondary schools participate for at least 225 minutes per week.

“I congratulate the Assembly Education Committee for holding this important hearing and working to ensure that the requirements already in place are being enforced. The next step that needs to be taken is to increase the amount of physical activity our children are getting at school. For many children, the only time that they are able to exercise is at school. The inadequate amount of time currently dedicated to physical education is a major factor in the increase in childhood obesity that our state and our nation has experienced over the past few decades. Improving fitness will improve our children’s academic performance and ultimately reduce disease, lower health care costs, and increase productivity in our work force” continued Ortiz.