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Childhood Obesity

Essay by   •  February 10, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,036 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,545 Views

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In today's society, Americans are faced with many critical issues: issues on health, money, and drugs or alcohol problems. One of the biggest problems we face as a society is obesity. People all over the nation question why we are having this problem and who is responsible. Who do we turn to to educate our society so that we may address this problem the correct way? The answer: healthy eating habits and exercising should be taught early in a child's life. An excellent place to build these fitness foundations is where children spend almost a third of their time: at school. Physical education should be available for all kindergarten through twelfth-grade students in order to tackle the problems of obesity.

The number of overweight youth has more than doubled in the past thirty years according to an article, "Is Physical Education Becoming an Oxymoron" written by Vicki Worrel, a Physical Education professor at Wichita State University. In addition, fifteen percent out of nine million children, ages six to nineteen, are overweight according to the article "The Growing Cost of Obesity." Obesity is one of our nation's largest and most expensive health problems. Obese children have a higher chance of growing up to become obese adults (Troxler 24). As you can see in the statements above, it's obvious that obesity is a continuing and growing problem and all starts at an early age.

Physical activity should be encouraged at an early age. It would be best to make physical education a required school curriculum. A student taking a physical education class will have many benefits. For example, a child taking a physical education class will learn about proper exercising. It would also be wise if the instructors integrated information about healthy eating habits into the curriculum to further increase a child's knowledge on good dieting. This will help a child develop physically more in strength and endurance which in turn will build healthy bones, muscles, and muscle development. Furthermore, at the same time a child will maintain a healthy weight from eating a nutritional diet. Having studied some physical education classes from personal experience, the coach was very passionate about being healthy. Before leaving P.E. class everyday, he would review all the major food groups and stress that the students stay away from fried foods and consume more fruit in their diet.

There are many benefits to exercise. Physical activity can help increase self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety. It is a known fact that exercising is a great way to reduce stress. A child that is regularly exercising is also less likely to have panic attacks. Living in a society that demands external perfection, a child that is obese is more likely to encounter teasing from their peers. This ultimately may lead a child into psychosocial complications such as lack of self-esteem, social rejection, depression or anxiety. If a child was physically active, however, his or her body will take on a more pleasant physical appearance and thus increase a child's self esteem. As a child is going through the stages of puberty, appearance begins to be a factor in their life. From middle school to high school, appearance and acceptance from peers is almost everything to an adolescent. Since looks become a factor around the middle school ages, shouldn't we start teaching the importance of healthy eating and exercising habits at an early age? Not only will this hurt a child's self-esteem, it can also lead to dangerous physical problems. Many overweight people suffer from sleep apnea which is when one stops breathing in their sleep. If these people were not overweight, they would be able to clearly breathe at night. With all these benefits, it is apparent that schools should take a more assertive position on teaching physical education to all grades from kindergarten through twelfth grade.




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