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The Arizona Department of Education Wants You (To Tell It How to Slim Down Fat Kids)

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It's a sadder day for the fat kid in dodgeball.

Arizona Department of Education Superintendent Tom Horne has announced that he wants the public's help to try to slim down Arizona's pudgy pupils and that he wants feedback on the new physical-education requirements that he and 18 health-education professionals have spent months creating.

Horne, who could use some fitness advice himself, says the proposed changes are focused  not only on forcing children to play sports they aren't good at, but promoting healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

The plan calls for measuring competency in motor skills and movement, making sure  students participate in physical-education classes, and maintaining fitness outside of the classroom.

"These standards haven't been raised since 1997," Horne says. "Studies show students who are healthy physically perform better academically."

However, a 2008 survey by Calorie Lab, a health organization that keeps track of the country's fattest fatties, found that Arizona's kids are some of the skinniest in the country, ranking an impressive 38th on the national list of the fattest states. However, in terms of education, Arizona ranks at the bottom of the barrel. If you asked one of Arizona's public-school geography whizzes, they would probably tell you that Arizona ranks 51st in the country when it comes to education, and they would almost be right.

The Grand Canyon State is annually embarrassed as the state has consistently ranked in the mid- to high 40s in national education surveys. Maybe if students start doing long division and push-ups simultaneously, Horne's theory of fitness leading to intelligence could be  reality.  

The always well-intentioned Horne will be holding six public forums in August at schools across the state to get feedback on the new plan, when he should probably just buy three Nintendo "Wi Fitness" games for every school and call it a day. 


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