Virginia physical education bill won't keep kids fit

Thursday, March 10, 2011; 7:59 PM

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) should not sign the physical education bill that passed in both the House and the Senate ["Help trim the fat, Gov. McDonnell: Sign the PE bill," Robert McCartney, Metro, March 6]. I voted against the bill, and I hope he does the same.

The legislation, requiring 150 minutes a week of physical education in K-12 public schools, is pitched as a way to fight childhood obesity. In actuality, it would cost schools millions and will not make one child lose weight. While obesity is a serious problem, mandating more physical education alone will not solve the problem.

One doughnut has 200 calories, and a medium-sized order of french fries has about 400 calories. If the teacher directs students to jog at 5 mph constantly in PE, they will burn enough calories to eliminate two doughnuts or one medium serving of fries. Let's face it, they are not going to run every day. So, if we really want to stop obesity, the solution is having parents keep doughnuts and french fries out of their children's hands.

School is for learning reading, writing and arithmetic. If we want to compete with China and India, we need to produce students who are competent in science, technology, engineering and math. My bet is that China and India don't have a 150-minute-per-week physical education requirement. They have their kids spending extra hours learning their multiplication tables.

David B. Albo, Fairfax

The writer, a Republican, represents the 42nd District in the Virginia House of Delegates.

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