Joining Pate in speaking to the committee were: Timothy Shriver, chairman and CEO of the Special Olympics; Dr. Antronette Yancey, professor in Department of Health Services at the UCLA School of Public Health and co-director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity; Dr. Barbara Levin, CEO of Chota Community Health Services in Madisonville, TN; and Beth Kirkpatrick, co-director of the Grundy Center PE4life Academy in Grundy Center, IA.
Pate acknowledged that it would not be fair or realistic to expect schools to solve the entire youth physical activity issue.
"Clearly, parents must play a central role, and community providers of youth services will be important too. However, I do believe it is both fair and indeed essential that our schools lead the way and do everything they reasonably can do to help us overcome this problem," he said.
Pate said school programs figure prominently in the U.S. National Physical Activity Plan, a private-public multi-organizational initiative announced May 3 that calls for implementation of over two hundred policies and practices across eight societal sectors.
Pate, who led the coordinating committee that developed the national plan, was assisted by Arnold School colleague Dr. Steve Blair, the senior scientific editor on the Surgeon General’s Report of Physical Activity and Health, and research assistant Dan Bornstein, a Ph.D. student in the USC Department of Exercise Science.
Pate told the Senate panel there also is substantial evidence that physical activity can improve academic achievement (including grades and test scores). Quoting a recent CDC report, Pate said, "Increasing or maintaining time dedicated to physical education may help, and does not appear to adversely impact, academic performance.' ”
A faithful supporter of the FITS Kids Act, Pate also testified in support of the bill during a 2008 appearance before the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee.