Fitness Boost in Kentucky Schools

Fitness Boost in Kentucky Schools
By: Wendy Ray

If you want your child to eat healthier and get more exercise in school, you're in luck if you live in Kentucky. Kentucky schools have new exercise and diet requirements in place. We went to Graves County Tuesday to see how the schools there are coping with these changes.

Fifth grader Josie Lavey's noticed a change at school and this is just her second day. "You do a lot of activities," Josie says. Josie will continue to do a lot of activities every day she's at Graves County Central Elementary. "We're required to have 30 minutes of moderate to rigorous physical activity every day and we've changed the meals that we're serving," Jenny Smith with the Graves County Board of Education says. It's all part of a new regulation for Kentucky elementary schools, making sure the state's school nutrition law is enforced. Smith says in the past there wasn't a required amount of time for physical education. Now the thirty minute activity requirement also carries an academic punch, teaching students as they exercise.

What students eat is also changing. "We have less sugars and fats in the meals we serve, breakfast, lunch and snacks. We're going away from soft drinks, we're going towards milk, juices, and water," Smith says. A few years ago, candy bars would have been in the snack bin instead of pretzels. Smith hopes the children carry on the healthy habits they're learning now into adulthood. "We're really trying to focus on life long exercise, teaching proper stretching, walking and jogging," she says.

Smith says Kentucky is above the national average in childhood obesity rates. She adds the law is for elementary schools, but Graves County has carried the new rules over to the middle school as well.