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Wisconsin May Require Daily Gym Classes for Early Grades

Some public schools in Wisconsin have cut back on physical education over the years because of shrinking budgets and demands to boost academics.

Now, several lawmakers support a bill that would require 30 minute gym classes each day, for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Several health-related organizations support the plan. Louise Wilson, president of the Wisconsin Association of School Nurses says more activity would help improve many students' well-being. "It highlights the issue of childhood obesity and overweight and that one of the factors that causes that or contributes to it, is physical inactivity,” Wilson says.

The Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction opposes the plan. According to a statement, DPI says a 30-minute daily mandate would force many schools to shorten other classes and perhaps add costs to hire staff and purchase equipment. The agency adds that gym class alone won’t solve the state’s obesity problem.

Wisconsin currently requires school districts to provide early grades with three gym classes per week.