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Lawmakers push annual student fitness tests

Thursday, March 19, 2009 12:40 PM
Last updated 4:07 PM
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ATLANTA - Georgia students could soon have to complete an annual fitness test supporters hope will take a bite out of childhood obesity and encourage healthier diets.

The Senate voted 34-14 Thursday on new requirements for each school system to conduct an annual fitness assessment program on their students by the 2011-2012 school year. The proposal, which was already adopted by the House, was sent to Gov. Sonny Perdue.

It was a victory for supporters who had pushed a similar plan unsuccessfully during last year's legislative session. That proposal died amid criticism of a provision that required students to step on the scales twice a year.

The new version stripped out the twice-yearly "weigh-ins," which would have been used to determine whether a child has a healthy body mass index. Instead, it would require school board districts to cobble together an annual fitness assessment for their students.

Under the proposal, no students would be punished if they failed to live up to the standards. But state Sen. Don Thomas, the measure's sponsor, said it would help identify and reward students who meet the new benchmarks.

"We recognize the star athletes, why shouldn't we recognize the average child that can run a mile?" asked Thomas, a physician who is a Dalton Republican.

Critics worried that the state can't afford to increase the burden on school boards amid the lean economic times. And they complained that parents, not teachers and bureaucrats, should be watching out for a student's physical health.

"Children are too big, and children do need to eat healthier," said state Sen. John Wiles, R-Marietta.

"But that's the parent's job. Maybe this is the role of the PTA, the churches, the synagogues, the mosques, the physicians of Georgia. But this is not the role of the government of Georgia."

The supporters, though, said concerns over the rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes among children is reason enough to support the new standards.

"We need to start early and really focus on the children of our state," said state Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta. "Not just their academic education, but their physical health as well."

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pointstoponder
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pointstoponder 03/19/09 - 01:12 pm
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Do they really think the

Do they really think the obese kids are not aware of their condition?

andywarhol
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andywarhol 03/19/09 - 01:19 pm
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Someone needs to kick some

Someone needs to kick some obese kids' parent's butts. Children have no job to buy food to put in their mouths. On discovery health 2 nights ago they said you don't get big without eating big, and in all child obesity cases there is a parent that is the enabler. They also said everyone is too ashamed to take responsibility for doing that to themselves or their children. They rely on excuses like; it's genetic, he's big boned, or it's a disease. Yeah right.

Frank
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Frank 03/19/09 - 01:28 pm
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big boned.. haha.. I've never

big boned.. haha.. I've never seen a fat skeleton..

johnny24
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johnny24 03/19/09 - 01:38 pm
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When I was in elementary

When I was in elementary school (ages ago- 1980s) there was a federal program similar to this. I think it was the "Presidental Award for Fitness" (something like that). I can remember getting letters of achievement with President Reagan's signature stamped at the bottom. The letters are probably still at my parents house today.

pointstoponder
153
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pointstoponder 03/19/09 - 01:44 pm
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That started with Kennedy in

That started with Kennedy in the '60's. I wasn't aware that it ended.

andywarhol
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andywarhol 03/19/09 - 01:46 pm
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I still have mine also. They

I still have mine also. They didn't count for anything, but I tried to get the Presidential Cert anyway. Then again, that was a time when people had pride in themselves.

johnny24
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johnny24 03/19/09 - 01:50 pm
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Remember the days when there

Remember the days when there was just the one fat kid in the class.

andywarhol
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andywarhol 03/19/09 - 01:57 pm
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Ha Ha Ha! Yep. My wife is

Ha Ha Ha! Yep. My wife is new to the U.S. and she cannot believe how many people are obese. I guess i shouldn't have taken her to Grand Buffet.

egan
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egan 03/19/09 - 02:25 pm
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the nanny state strikes again

the nanny state strikes again

stevecanyon
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stevecanyon 03/19/09 - 05:11 pm
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Well let us see how well this

Well let us see how well this goes, blame the parents, I don't think so. My children are long out of school and if things are done now as they were done when they attended school, I put my blame more on the school system for overweight children. Sit in a classroom for most of the day, maybe they get 2 15 minutes recesses to get some exercise and then they come home and sit down with a snack and 2 to 3 hours of homework. When do they get to burn off some fat. Why do most adults gain weight as they grow older because they sit around and snack. Yes parents need to be involved with getting their children out and exercising, and the schools need to give the children time to get out and play when they get home. Activity does burn the calories.

bone
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bone 03/19/09 - 08:35 pm
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stevecanyon, do you really

stevecanyon, do you really blame the schools? parents such as yourself screamed and cried to get academic "accountability" as part of the public school day; are we now also responsible for health "accountability?" good grief - folks, run, don't walk, to your nearest private school / home school; public schools are officially the dumping ground for society's problems.

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