House Passes Sterling’s Bill to Address Childhood Obesity
Mike Seals - March 3, 2021 10:40 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Danny Sterling, R-Tecumseh, today secured passage of legislation that would require schools to conduct annual physical fitness assessments of students to help address childhood obesity.
House Bill 2381 would require schools to conduct an annual fitness assessment for students in grades 3-12, beginning with the 2022-2023 school year. The assessment would be based on aerobic capacity, body composition, muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Under HB2381, the State Board of Education (SBE) and Oklahoma State Dept. of Health (OSDH) would be required to analyze the results and look for any correlation between the results and obesity, student attendance, academic achievement, discipline, and school meal programs. The information would not contain students’ names, social security numbers or dates of birth, and results would be shared with the student’s parents or legal guardian.
“Oklahoma has seen a sharp increase in childhood obesity during the last two decades, which can cause or correlate with numerous other health conditions,” Sterling said. “An annual fitness exam will open the conversation between educators, parents and students and provide the opportunity to help address any health problems students may have. I hope that House Bill 2381 will influence student decisions regarding health, exercise and food so they can begin building lifelong habits.”
Sterling passed similar legislation through the House last year, but the bill was not heard in the Senate due to the shortened session caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
HB2381 passed the House 57-37 and is now eligible to be considered in the Senate, where it is authored by Sen. Frank Simpson, R-Springer.