-- Require physical education teachers to keep students active at least 50 percent of their time in P.E. "We've heard that, lots of times, kids are put in front of videos and do not actually get up and move," said coalition member Kelly Sadd.
-- Expand the state's Health and Physical Education Leadership Academy, which has trained more than 300 P.E. teachers statewide in creative ways to keep children active in school.
-- Increase the number of farmers markets throughout the state
-- Encourage schools to buy from local farmers through the Farm to School program.
-- Improve access to dental care for pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid
-- Adopt "comprehensive strategies to reduce overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages."
Perry Bryant, director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, said he was disappointed to see no recommendation to increase children's physical activity time. "Given the severity of the state's problems and the proven effectiveness of physical activity, one would have hoped for bolder proposals," he said. "But these are first steps."
"Next year, we're going to really concentrate on physical activity, and not just during school time," Sadd said.
Grade-schoolers must now have only 90 minutes of P.E. a week. High-schoolers take P.E. only one semester out of eight.
The report did not specifically recommend an increase in the soda pop tax, but Stollings said, "Nobody should be surprised to see something surface during the session."
Monday, Sen. Dan Foster, D-Kanawha, tested the waters in his Health subcommittee for a soda tax increase, but "the members didn't want to pursue it," he said.
Wednesday, one member, Sen. Art Kirkendoll, D-Logan, said he was not opposed to a soda pop tax, but the rate proposed Monday -- a penny an ounce -- was too high.
After Matheny testified, Jessica Wright, who directs the Bureau of Public Health's chronic disease efforts, summarized the bureau's activities to curb chronic disease.
The latest development: The bureau got a grant this week to create a referral network to make it easier for doctors and other providers to locate diabetes self-management programs for patients.
"There's a lot percolating," Stollings said. "Surely we'll start bending some of our health curves downward."
Reach Kate Long at katel...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1798.