Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mandatory Physical Education

While sitting in my classes the other day we began to talk about how physical education is only required statewide in one state. Pretty pathetic, huh? After a quick discussion of why this may be, we watched a movie called super size me, where a man eats McDonald's for a month straight and travels across the country doing different things like visiting high school cafeterias. Throughout his visits he comes across some astonishing things that are being put out in the 'lunch rooms' for kids to choose to eat. Being a 10-15 year old, are you going to grab the veggies and healthy meal, or the french fries and chicken fingers? Having the choice to choose what you want to eat can be costly to your health, especially if you are not working out regularly.
Schools are beginning to cut out physical education programs because they feel it is not as important as other core subjects. What they need to realize is that obesity is an on growing problem for young kids growing up, because they are not getting the necessary physical activity daily. Another reason obesity is a growing problem is because kids are not being educated enough on the right way to treat your body. Parents need to be involved in this as well, making sure your kids are eating correctly even when they are not around.
Going back to the movie, he did come across some schools that had good lunch programs, and that had healthy food choices. When interviewing the principal they said they could tell a difference in attitudes and performance just from the simple switch to health foods, and I believe one professor at the school called it, "A blessing in disguise." At these schools they found meals being prepared fresh daily, choices of different fresh fruits and vegetables, and a big cut on junk foods. With proper physical activity, these students will be a minority to the rest of the country simply because they are eating properly and exercising regularly, something most kids in the country don't do today.
Illinois is the only state to mandate Physical Education in the United States. Other states have physical education programs, it just may not be mandatory for the students to take the class. With the obesity rate up so high for kids, I cannot understand how these schools do not have these students exercising at least 3 days a week if not daily. If something isn't done soon, physical education may be on its way out of schools, and obesity will be making its way in.

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