Recent Press Releases

Thune, Klobuchar Designate Physical Education and Sports Week

--Senators say physical activity crucial for health of nation's youth and for controlling health care costs--

May 6, 2009

Washington, D.C. —  U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced a resolution in the Senate today to designate the week of May 1 through May 7 as "National Physical Education and Sports Week." Seeking to raise awareness of the benefits of physical activity for the nation's youth, Klobuchar and Thune joined with the American Heart Association to encourage local school districts to implement goals for physical education to address childhood obesity and promote wellness.

"It is important to emphasize fitness at a young age so kids can develop healthy habits that contribute to a lifetime of physical fitness," said Thune. "Healthy kids grow into healthy adults, which reduces health care costs and leads to a more fulfilling life. Raising awareness is an important step, and I am proud to be a part of this effort."

"When I was in school, recess and physical education class was a time for kids to run around and play games. Now, recess time is getting shorter and shorter and kids' waistlines are getting wider and wider," said Klobuchar. "Today, we're facing an obesity epidemic that's putting our kids' health at risk and hurting our economy. That's why it is so important that we teach our kids about the importance of physical activity and encourage them to stay active throughout their lives."

"Children need quality physical education to build healthy minds and bodies and reduce their risk for obesity-related diseases," said Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., American Heart Association spokesperson. "We applaud Senators Klobuchar and Thune for encouraging our nation's schools to increase physical education and wellness programs to help children stay fit and boost their potential for academic achievement."

The resolution introduced by Senators Thune and Klobuchar recognizes ``National Physical Education and Sports Week'' and the central role of physical education and sports in creating a healthy lifestyle for children.

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Other guidelines can be found at:

According to a recent study, the hospital cost of treating children for obesity-related conditions rose from $35 million during the years 1979 to 1981 to $127 million from 1997 to 1999. Since obese kids are more likely to be obese adults, the rising costs follow them to adulthood. Nationally, we spend between $51 and $78 billion on health care related to overweight and obese adults -- that's nearly 9 percent of all medical spending in the U.S. per year.