Iowa kids may be forced to be a bit more physically active at school next fall. A bill Governor Culver signed into law this week requires all kindergarten through 12th grade students in Iowa to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each school day. “Simply put, to grow up to become healthy adults our kids must get into the habits of eating right and exercising more at an earlier age,” Culver says.

According to Culver, there are some alarming statistics that show the need for action. For example, health officials say 50 percent of Iowa kids are overweight. “Twenty percent of those children are morbidly obese. This is not acceptable and we have an obligation to do something about it,” Culver says. “As a result of this legislation, all food sold on school grounds in all cafeterias and vending machines will now require a nutritional content standard or label and every Area Education…Agency in our state will now be required to have a full-time dietician on staff.”

The legislation Culver signed this week also creates a Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Nutrition, modeled after the national council appointed by the president. “I am confident that we will be able to turn this epidemic around when it comes to obesity and diabetes in particular for our children,” Culver says.

More and more kids are being diagnosed with type two diabetes, which used to be found only in adults over the age of 40.