Md. Bill Would Have Addressed Childhood Obesity
The Washington Post's series this week on childhood obesity addresses an issue that's a priority for some in Annapolis. They tried unsuccessfully to pass legislation at the annual legislative session to add more physical education to the school day through a bill named after teenager who almost died of diabetes. The General Assembly instead created a task force on the problem.
On the bill hearing this spring, that teen, 14-year-old Bryan Moore, sat quietly with his mother as Del. Jay Walker (D-Prince George's), a former Howard University quarterback, made the case. Walker and Sen. David Harrington (D-Prince George's) were pushing the bill.
"You can either pay now or pay a whole lot later," Walker said. "Ultimately the state is going to have to pay something if we don't do something to help slow down this epidemic in the community."
Bryan, a Baltimore resident, said "honey buns, pizza and lots of fries" were among his favorite foods before he weighed in at more than 200 pounds and was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2006. He said that he is now losing weight because of exercise and tough love.
"My mom tries to keep the sweets out of the house so I won't have to go through what I went through," Bryan said in an interview at the time. "When I first got diabetes. I went into a diabetic coma...I thought that I was about to die. I was very scared, I was very frantic. I didn't think anybody wanted to be my friend anymore."
The legislation would have required public school children from kindergarten through eighth grade to get 150 minutes of physical activity and 90 minutes of physical education. Currently some schools offer between 30 minutes and two hours of PE.
-- Hamil R. Harris
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