Senator says New Mexico elementary kids need more P.E.

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – One state lawmaker says rising rates of youth obesity and diabetes led her to introduce legislation that would implement more physical education in New Mexico schools.

The legislation is a Senate Joint Memorial sponsored by Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, who says kids these days just aren’t as active as they could be.

Sen. Stewart’s memorial addresses the Public Education Department and asks for a study to be done on how much time students — specifically elementary-aged — are spending in P.E.

She doesn’t think it’s enough, which is why the memorial also asks the PED for a plan to implement more P.E. in elementary schools.

Sen. Stewart points to childhood obesity and diabetes as growing health problems for youth.

“The pediatrician I’ve been working with says they have never seen the likes of 3 and 4-year-old children already with diabetes,” Sen. Stewart says. “So, it’s a crisis. It’s a health crisis.”

Sen. Stewart’s memorial refers to 2011 data that just 28.5 percent of New Mexico schools kids are going to P.E. class every day — and that’s data from kids of all ages, not just elementary kids.

As for funding the gathering of data that Sen. Stewart is after, she says the PED should already have that information.

If the memorial passes, Sen. Stewart says we can eventually expect a bill that would implement the plan for more P.E. time. But she says that would be down the road when the state isn’t facing a budget crisis.

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