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New fitness plan for schools

An ‘epidemic’ of childhood obesity means bigger role for physical activity

By Janet Steffenhagen

Physical activity will be an integral part of the B.C. school curriculum starting next fall, with fitness assessed just like reading, writing and arithmetic, Education Minister Christy Clark said Monday.

Schools will be required to have their students engage in physical activity for a prescribed amount of time each week to help combat an “epidemic” of childhood obesity and diabetes, and promote sports in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Clark said.

The plan, now being developed by ministry officials, won’t necessarily mean more phys-ed classes, but could include activities such as walk-to-school events, sprints around the block and classroom calisthenics.

As with other subjects, students will be assessed as meeting, not meeting or exceeding expectations, although the expectations will be geared to a student’s personal abilities, Clark said.

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