The Iowa Association of School Boards says its members are having difficulty implementing new physical education and nutrition standards required by state law this fall, and there’s some talk of repealing the state’s Healthy Kids Act. But Iowa State University extension nutrition specialist, Ruth Litchfield, says a repeal would only provide a brief reprieve for schools, as the state rules mirror federal standards adopted by congress in December.
“Iowa is very well positioned that when these federal standards come down, we should already be ahead of the game compared to other states who don’t have anything or have something less rigorous,” Litchfield says. Iowa’s Healthy Kids Act prohibits the sale of high fat and calorie items in school vending machines and a la cart lines. It also restricts sugar and salt content.
Urbandale Community schools superintendent, Doug Stilwell, says his biggest concern is the additional time required for physical activity and C.P.R. training. Stilwell says,”When we consider our focus as educators and our focus is in light of no child left behind and other legislation is to educate the kids, I certainly don’t disagree with wanting to have kids that are healthy and fit, but its one more thing that we have to manage.”
And Stilwell says schools don’t have enough money to do more because the Healthy Kids Act did not provide any additional funding for schools. He says he supports legislation that would repeal or reform the act.
Stilwell and Litchfield made their comments on the Iowa Public Radio program “The Exchange.”