Physical Activity Guidelines For Americans Act: Your Next Personal Trainer May be Congress

To all those who think they weren't properly judged in the Presidential Fitness Challenge in elementary school, the government has struck again.

Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) have introduced the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Act, H.R. 2179, which would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to publish a decennial exercise guideline for Americans.

“Public health and physical fitness are pressing concerns for our country, and in order to get the best results it’s important to instill healthy habits and routines early in life,” Kind said. The bill’s other co-sponsor, Rep. Schock, made the cover of Men’s Health Magazine in 2011 as “America’s Fittest Congressman.”

The bill, praised by The American College of Sports Medicine, calls for the decennial report to use “current scientific and medical knowledge” to establish recommendations different age groups that will be promoted by the federal government.

Earlier this week the Institute of Medicine released their report recommending that schools provide at least an hour of physical activity per day for student, saying that currently only half of students are reaching that number. In a statement the American Heart Association said: “This new IOM report reminds us once again that the nation’s schools are on the frontline of the fight against childhood obesity.”

The majority of states mandate physical education according to the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. But most do not set a time, and allow exemptions or substitutions for other extra-curricular activities that are not necessarily exercise-intensive.

Between 16% and 33% of children and adolescents are obese today, and these obese children have an 80% chance of becoming obese adults.