Under current law children in grades 6 through 8 are required to take one semester of physical education each year. State Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, said one of the main reasons behind his proposed measure to remove that mandate is to leave the decision to offer physical education to local school districts, not the state, ABC News reported Friday.
"Simply because an idea may have merit for some does not mean that we should use the power of government to mandate it for all," Metz said, adding he's not against physical education. "Some physically fit and active middle school students might rather use that time in their school day to take another elective."
Nutritionists, pediatricians and the American Heart Association are opposing the bill, saying eliminating physical education is dangerous with obesity affecting 30 percent of the nation's children.
"If we don't get our middle school children being physically active as early as possible, we run the risk of more obesity and more bad habits developing as we age," Dr. Ralph Sacco at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine said.