Friday, February 13, 2009

Reform Physical Education (A letter to the editor)

Dear Baltimore Sun,

I am disappointed your 2009 General Assembly Guide doesn’t include public health issues, specifically recent efforts by local officials to address childhood obesity in public schools by reforming physical education. There are a number of proposals on the table that would make investment in our children’s physical health as much a priority as reading, writing and math.

Even as the state currently faces dire economic circumstances, Maryland spends an estimated $1.5 billion on obesity related conditions. Additionally, The American Heart Association reports learned behaviors are the major contributor to childhood obesity with genetics playing a role of only 20-30%. Our leaders could begin addressing both these issues long term by establishing a 30 minute recess period for elementary students and three days a week of physical education for other students.

I recently attended a town hall meeting where Governor O’Malley and Lt Governor Brown were thrilled to highlight how Maryland’s investment in reading and math skills has resulted in national recognition for academic achievement. If our elected leaders make the correct investments in this legislative session, in a few years they will receive accolades for the healthiest public schools in America while dramatically reducing health care costs.

~Marcus Skelton is from Prince George’s County Maryland and current Chairman of the D.C. Young Republicans. Marcus contributes a fresh political perspective and has a strong passion for economic development, quality education, and local politics. He currently works for a higher education association and continues to serve in the community by tutoring and serving on the Board of Directors of World Beats and Life Inc. He received his B.S. in Communications from Bowie State University and a M.A. in Human Resource Development.

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