MANILA -- A lawmaker is pushing for the mandatory inclusion of an anti-obesity program in public and private pre-school, elementary, and high schools to promote healthy lifestyle among Filipino youth.
Las Pinas Rep. Mark Villar said House Bill 4314, which includes the Anti-Obesity Education Program, seeks to provide a definitive approach to physical education to address the increasing number of obese Filipino children.
Under the bill, pre-school, kindergarten and elementary students shall have 200 minutes of physical activity for 10 days, while high school students shall have 30 minutes of physical activity daily. They shall also receive instructions in healthy eating habits and good nutrition.
The physical education program for pre-school and kindergarten shall be designed to help children to work and play with others, to express themselves and to learn to use and manage their bodies.
For elementary pupils, physical education shall include movement experiences and body mechanics, fitness and rhythmic activities, increased cardiovascular endurance muscular strength and sports and games.
For high school students, physical education shall include activities that increase cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and flexibility and sports and games.
“Obesity has become a problem for our Filipino children. The deadly combination of eating calorie-rich foods and sedentary lifestyle due to advancement in technology are plaguing Filipino children," Villar said.
Children tend to be less physically active as they spend more time in front of the television, watching movies or playing video games,” he added.
The problem must also be addressed because obesity not only increases health risks, but reduces life expectancy as well.
Among the fatal conditions associated with obesity are Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancers and gall bladder disease.
Villar said by including the anti-obesity program in school curricula, children would be educated on the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle.
School will also be required to appoint a sports director to oversee the implementation of the program, as well as to create, maintain, and develop necessary and suitable sport facilities and equipment for engaging in physical activities and sports.
Students who are already engaged in school-sanctioned extracurricular activities are exempted from the mandatory anti-obesity program.