Fifth-grade students lobby for physical education bill at state capitol

Monday, February 28th 2005, 12:25 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The fifth-grade class at Bridge Creek Elementary School in Grady County Monday helped persuade a state House committee to approve legislation creating a voluntary statewide physical fitness program.

The Oklahoma Kids Fitness Challenge Act now heads to the full House for consideration.

The act is designed after a program developed at Bridge Creek to encourage fifth-graders to lead a healthy lifestyle and at the same time learn more about Oklahoma.

The students take a ``virtual tour'' of the state by walking 25 miles each week. They then use a map to see where the walk would lead them and study the geography and history of those areas. Or instead of walking the students can do 25 sit-ups in two minutes, three times a week.

11-year-old Cody Smith told lawmakers the benefits include healthier bodies and minds and reduced health care costs. And 10-year-old Stefani Mize says the program was developed after students and teachers saw the obesity rate for fifth-graders was ``an outrageous 32 percent.''

Representative Susan Winchester says the bill requires the Department of Education to create an optional ``Walk Across Oklahoma'' program. It would provide funding for pedometers and access to curriculum for teachers in school districts that participate.