State lawmakers take on childhood obesity

Posted July 2, 2010

Obesity in children has doubled in the past 12 years.(WRAL-TV5 News)

— Lawmakers hope that proposed changes to physical education in public schools will help fight obesity among children in North Carolina.

Research shows that one out of every three teenagers in North Carolina is overweight or obese.

"We've got to do something about it. We can't just sit by and let it happen," said Rob Morrow, executive director of the North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

The group of health and physical educators has thrown its support behind two bills: H.B. 1757, which would establish standards for fitness testing from kindergarten through 12th grade, and H.B. 901, which would create some honors physical education courses.

The goal is to get children active early and encourage them to stay active, Morrow said.

"If you haven't formed the habits in elementary school, it's hard to go back and learn to take care of your body," he said.

H.B. 901 has been passed by the General Assembly and is awaiting Gov. Bev Perdue's signature to make it law. H.B. 1757 has been passed by the House of Representatives and is before the Senate.

Legislature moves to curb childhood obesity Legislature moves to curb childhood obesity

A sponsor of both bills, Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange County, said she is also supporting a push to create new nutritional guidelines for public schools.

"We're really giving our children information and giving them health options," she said. "This won't do away with junk food in schools. It will add healthy options."

It's important to tackle the problem of childhood obesity as soon as possible, Insko said.

"It's really time for us to get alarmed about the health of our young people. This is really a health and wellness initiative," she said.


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  • wildcat Jul 6, 2010

    Its not going to work. Its how parents feed the children at home.

  • ThinkChick Jul 5, 2010

    FairPlay: Shhhhhh competition and winning are dirty words for today's social engineers. There is no exceptionalism. Everyone is the same. Haven't you noticed everyone gets trophies whether they win or lose, that grades are being dumped in favor of non-comparative performance evaluations, that the lowest common denominator sets the pace?

    This personal choice interference is precisely what government needs to keep its nose out of. Interestingly enough SCOTUS nominee Kagan skirted the question of whether the feds could set our diet for us. That should make us all a tad concerned.

  • buchanancalvin Jul 2, 2010

    why not take on another cause that they are not willing to make hard choices about. how about this...let's have the kids go to school from 8 to 5 with 1 hour a day of scheduled and organized PE a day. Teachers would still be there the same amount of time and start time's can be staggared for the gym teachers to accomidate. this would also allow parents to save some money on child care and honestly, who wouldn't be happy with that.

  • teacher56 Jul 2, 2010

    ahmbdm...someone who is obese is NOT a disgusting sight. A person no matter what size is a person who should be respected as is any human being. What problems do you have that are not "seen" in public?

  • justcommonsense Jul 2, 2010

    "Why not start by putting limitations on what people buy with EBT cards?" wcumom

    That is an extremely socio-economically biased comment. Apparently your view of the world is very narrow. Please, take a real look around at the problem with obesity in our country. It does NOT fall to just the lower-income/poverty stricken families. I know many families who have 2 incomes (very generous ones) and their children have problems with weight as well.

    The issue is twofold: 1:Our children in general are much less ctive than in past generations. Many do not get outdoors and run and play as they should due to either being tied down to tons of homework..or...because they have become accustomed to the electronic child sitters so many have.

    2. The unhealthy choices served at home...and in schools. Very high in carbs and fats. As most of us know, the healthy diets are costly, hence the school diets that all of us have known for decades. Also the reason for low income diets being so bad

  • FairPlay Jul 2, 2010

    I heard a lot of scools did away with PE. Too bad. It is needed also to teach competition.

  • ahmbdm Jul 2, 2010

    To LongWayHome: WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE???
    Are your kids the parents, or can you muster up the gumption to make healthy decisions and ENFORCE THEM?????
    Of course they will only eat Tater Tots and fat-laden Ranch Dressing...when did you last buy and serve FRESH PRODUCE?????

  • uneedpe01 Jul 2, 2010

    I am a Health and Physical Education Teacher. I already test my students each year for levels of fitness and have many rigorous health lessons on Nutrition and how to prevent obesity. Then I get to walk into the school cafeteria and curse under my breath at the GARBAGE(processed foods, high sugar and fat content) that is being served. It is a disgrace. I REFUSE TO EAT THERE. The students do not need choices between healthy or unhealthy. Most will choose the pizza and fries everytime no matter what they are taught in class. I would much rather see the GOV'T overhaul the child nutrition program and force them to cook and serve fresh vegs and lean meats than to put so much energy into passing a law to put the responsiblity on the H/PE teachers to prevent obesity. Besides, any GREAT Health/PE teacher is already doing this as a part of his/her job.

  • sandavis2 Jul 2, 2010

    I have four children and four grandchildren - I do not buy " junk" food of any kind and my children eat food that is good for them - when children are hungry, they will eat and learn to eat
    nutritious foods - best to start when they are very young - think of what our parents ate on the
    farm!!! Also, get the junk food of pizzas, fries, etc out of the schools !
    Obesity is a physical and emotional problem for children and we as adults need to take charge!!

  • NotAgain Jul 2, 2010

    I feed my kids tator tots, but they get their vitamins, I add ranch dressing. And that is because they refuse to eat unless I add it. And I always give my kids what they want. The are picky eaters you know, what else is there for a parent to do?