Florida Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Eliminate Middle School Physical Education Requirement

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Diet vs. Exercise?

Scientists have debated the role of both diet and exercise in preventing childhood obesity. Some studies have suggested that reducing calorie intake is more effective than exercise, while others have suggested that increased physical activity is more beneficial.

A 2009 report by a global market research group found in a survey that American parents were concerned about their children's weight, but confused about whether diet or exercise is more important for maintaining a healthy weight.

Experts told ABC News that they also believe both physical activity and exercise are essential for both the prevention and treatment of obesity.

"You can't be totally healthy without both, and you can only go so far with just one of them," said Ayoob.

Physical Education 'Cost-Effective'

"Having physical activity in school will probably be more cost-effective in the long run," said Sacco. "People who eat right and exercise can reduce the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and, ultimately, heart disease and stroke."

The American Heart Association said obesity-related health care costs eclipse $147 billion nationwide, and the group is urging Floridians to tell their lawmakers to vote "no" on the proposed state House bill.

A Florida House committee approved the measure earlier this week. So far, no one in the state Senate has sponsored the bill, according to the Palm Beach Post. Senate President Mike Haridopolos, a Republican, told the paper he hadn't heard about the bill and said, "I love P.E.!"

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