They say that health is important, probably the most important component in our lives. Without health we practically have nothing. So why is it that children in the Western world are given physical education classes only once per week while Math and Language lessons are given nearly daily? Will math or language save your life or help you catch your last breath? A study published by the Harvard University School of Public Health stated that almost 7 in 10 parents say their child’s school does not provide daily physical education even though experts recommend 150 to 225 minutes per school week. Whose responsibility is this? Are parents to blame or is it the schools?
According to the World Health Organization (Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, 2015) in 2013, 42 million infants and young children were overweight or obese, worldwide and 70 million young children will be overweight or obese by 2025 if current trends continue. With obesity climbing to epidemic rates and more children leading sedentary lifestyles, it makes more sense to make physical education a priority. Schools fall behind when it comes to providing an example of healthy living. Cafeteria foods and vending machines are lacking essential nutrients in addition to an overload of homework that is leading to stress and anxiety. Therefore, children are left with no options but to fall into an unhealthy lifestyle that creates hard to break habits into adulthood.
In the same manner that educating a child that stealing is wrong, it also makes sense teach them that a lack of exercise and healthy eating is detrimental to their health. Many schools shun away speaking of obesity and its effects including death to avoid hurting student’s feelings or to promote eating disorders that may arise from extreme thinking.
Parents, teachers and caregivers are responsible for a child’s wellbeing not only mentally and emotionally but also physically. With that being said, don’t children deserve better? Should schools be responsible for encouraging and promoting a healthy lifestyle? After all, without health there will be no Math or Language to learn.