Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2007

HJR 637: Joint Subcommittee Studying Childhood Obesity in Public Schools

November 13, 2007

The Joint Subcommittee Studying Childhood Obesity in Virginia's Public Schools held its final meeting of the 2007 interim on November 13, 2007, in Richmond with Delegate O'Bannon as chair.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the joint subcommittee's final recommendations for the 2008 General Assembly Session. Staff presented each of the five proposals the members had discussed at the previous meeting, the members held some discussion, and public comment was heard. The following is a summary of the action taken on each proposal.

Proposed Legislation

The proposal would have closed the gap between the breakfast and lunch periods, during which schools are currently not allowed to sell anything that is not part of the official school breakfast or lunch program. The members took no action on this proposal.

The proposal requires the Board of Education to develop a database containing information on successful nutrition and physical activity programs and policies being implemented by individual local school divisions. The information would be made available to all local school divisions, and no local school division would be required to submit information.

The members were supportive of trying to encourage positive behavior without legislative mandates. The proposal was amended to include information on fitness testing results already being done and reported to the Department of Education by the majority of school divisions and to make the information available to the Department of Health, in addition to local school divisions. The members voted to recommend this proposal as amended.

The proposal would require at least 150 minutes of physical education per week for all students in grades kindergarten through 12. The requirement could be fulfilled through physical education classes or other extracurricular sports or activities that the local school board deems appropriate.

While the joint subcommittee was generally supportive of increasing the physical education requirement, some members were uncomfortable with the financial effect this would have on school divisions and the scheduling impact for students, particularly in high school. The members ultimately agreed to two amendments to the proposal. The proposal would now be gradually phased in at the elementary level over the next five years, and recess cannot be counted towards the weekly requirement. The joint subcommittee voted to recommend the proposal as amended.

With little discussion, the members voted to support the recommendation to increase the state reimbursement level for school lunches, which has not been increased in over 25 years.

Other Recommendations

The members also quickly voted to recommend both a resolution and a letter to all division superintendents encouraging local school divisions to participate in the Governor's Nutrition and Physical Activity Scorecard.

Finally, the joint subcommittee agreed to recommend a resolution continuing the study for another year.

The Hon. John O'Bannon, III

For information, contact:
Jessica Eades, Nikki Seeds Cheuk, DLS Staff


Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2007

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