FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2007
GOVERNOR BARBOUR SIGNS “MISSISSIPPI HEALTHY STUDENTS ACT”
(JACKSON, Mississippi) – Governor Haley Barbour on Wednesday signed into law Senate Bill 2369, known as the “Mississippi Healthy Students Act,” which requires public schools to provide increased amounts of physical activity and health education instruction for elementary and junior high students. The legislation also adds additional physical education or physical activity requirements before high school students are eligible for graduation.
“I’m pleased the Legislature honored my request to set a state mandate for weekly physical activity and to increase the requirements for physical education-related instruction,” Governor Barbour said. “It’s imperative that our schools and our children understand that learning takes many forms, and along with academics we must also teach the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.”
“Increasing physical activity is very important for our students” said Dr. Hank M. Bounds, State Superintendent of Education. “We know the important connection between good health and student achievement. While academic preparation is crucial to the success of our boys and girls, they also need physical activity to grow and develop into healthy, well-prepared adults.”
The bill, proposed by the Governor and passed by the Legislature during the 2007 Regular Session, requires schools to provide at least 150 minutes of physical activity-based instruction as well as 45 minutes of health education instruction per week for students in kindergarten through 8th grade. In addition, the legislation requires students in grades 9 through 12 to complete a ½ Carnegie unit of physical education or physical activity before qualifying for graduation.
“This is common sense legislation that emphasizes the value of learning how to adopt a healthy lifestyle at an early age,” Governor Barbour said. “By teaching our children the importance of good nutrition and physical activity, we are taking the necessary actions to ensure the benefits of a healthier lifestyle—lower costs, more job creation, mental clarity, and a longer and better quality of life.”
The Mississippi Healthy Students Act is part of Governor Barbour’s Healthy Mississippi initiative, which focuses on providing more and better ways to improve the overall health and fitness of Mississippi residents, such as school children, working adults, and senior citizens.