More physical education in Illinois
SPRINGFIELD — A state report released earlier this month calls for new benchmarks and strategies to improve and increase physical education classes, noting the latest neuroscience research linking physical activity with improved academic performance. State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch and Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Department of Public Health, co-chaired the Illinois Enhance Physical Education (P.E.) Task Force, which developed the 148-page report that has been submitted to Gov. Pat Quinn, the Illinois State General Assembly, and health organizations and community groups interested in turning the tide of childhood obesity and improving health for all students.
“There are no silver bullet options when it comes to solutions to the most pressing issues facing our students today,” said Koch. “There is compelling research, however, that shows Illinois students with healthy levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were more than two times more likely to meet state testing standards in reading and math. Increasing physical activity during the school day is a critical and attainable way to improve student health and academic outcomes in the near term.”
Illinois’ schools system, like those in many states, faces multiple challenges, including budgetary and facility constraints as well as soaring obesity rates – all of which disproportionately impact low-income and minority populations.
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