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Rep. Fudge and Sen. Udall Welcomes Dr. Oz's Endorsement of PHYSICAL Act to Promote Health & PE in Schools

Udall Welcomes Dr. Oz's Endorsement of PHYSICAL Act to Promote Health & PE in Schools


WASHINGTON– Today U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) welcomed an endorsement by Dr. Mehmet Oz, vice-chairman and professor of surgery at Columbia University, co-founder of HealthCorps and host of the Emmy Award-winning television program "The Dr. Oz Show," of Udall's legislation aimed at increasing access to effective health and physical education (PE) programs in schools across the country.

The Promoting Health for Youth Skills in Classrooms and Life (PHYSICAL) Act would designate health and PE as “core” subjects under federal law, encouraging elementary and secondary schools to use federal funding for physical and health education instruction, materials and teacher training. Udall introduced the Senate bill in 2013; Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11) introduced the House companion, H.R.2160.

"The PHYSICAL Act is an important first step toward ensuring that health education and physical education are a part of every student's school day," Dr. Oz said. "I applaud Senator Tom Udall and Representative Marcia Fudge for introducing it, and their colleagues that have supported the legislation. I hope others will join them and push until we see bill's language included in federal education law. The childhood obesity epidemic is real, and schools deserve the necessary tools to combat it." 

"I'm grateful for Dr. Oz's support of our efforts to boost health and PE programs in our schools," Udall said. "As one of America's most trusted health experts, he understands the importance of physical activity and health education resources in helping students lead healthier lives and reach their full potential. I thank Dr. Oz for his support and look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to make sure the PHYSICAL Act is included in any debate about the future of our country's education policies."

“I am pleased Dr. Oz supports the PHYSICAL ACT and I applaud his ongoing commitment to increase students’ access to physical education,” added Congresswoman Fudge. “Facing tight budgets, many school districts need assistance and flexibility to expand health and physical education, which is important to promoting healthy, sustainable lifestyles for their students. I encourage more health experts and child advocates to join our efforts to strengthen the resources and opportunities made available to our young people. Dr. Oz recognizes the PHYSICAL Act would allow our schools to provide essential physical fitness education for their students and go a long way toward reducing the epidemic of childhood obesity in our nation.”

As public school officials work to meet standards in "core" subjects to maintain federal funding and states struggle with budget cutbacks, subjects like health and PE risk being scaled back or eliminated. The PHYSICAL Act, which would not require any additional funding, would designate these subjects as eligible for Title I and II funding, using existing federal dollars to expand health and PE throughout school districts. This could include dedicating weekly physical activities, enhancing classroom instruction or developing creative health programming, as well as purchasing needed instructional materials and supporting teacher training.

As part of his efforts to pass the PHYSICAL Act, Udall is asking communities in New Mexico to share stories about their successful programs and best practices in health education and PE to encourage an exchange of innovative ideas among local school districts.

Udall first introduced the PHYSICAL Act in 2011. The bill has the backing of more than 75 health organizations, including HealthCorps, the nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Oz in 2003 to combat the childhood obesity crisis and lead a nationwide movement toward a new generation of healthy young people. 

A copy of S. 392, the PHYSICAL Act, can be accessed HERE