By Josue Jimenez
In today’s generation we tend to live inside our homes. We are like snails. We do everything within our homes and live a sedentary lifestyle. We stay indoors while the young generations leave the recreational parks deserted. Physical fitness is a thing that is now, in a way, mythical. They depict a healthy lifestyle as something only a superhero can have. That is not true! We can have the bodies like superheros and rarely get sick if we start from a young age. We can be healthy and avoid the number one preventable death in the U.S., according to the CDC. Where does this lifestyle begin its roots?
Well, in the place where kids spend most of their day, in school.
Many of us remember coming out of school and running home to our parents so we can change to our regular clothes and go outside and go do some form of physical activity. Those are now long lost memories of the 90s, something only a 90s kid will remember.
All jokes aside, obesity is an epidemic that is spreading like wildfire. We are removing recreational opportunities to people, especially to children. We are hurting them because they are in the stage of motor development. They need to be moving constantly and exercising so they can not be so awkward in their movements as they mature. According to the CDC, 17% of kids and adolescents are now affected by obesity. That’s triple the amount from one generation ago. You maybe asking yourself, is overweight and obesity the same?
Well, to fully understand how your child or yourself stand in the risk meter we must know what they mean. Overweight is defined as the person being over 85% but less than 95% of the BMI. Obesity is defined as being over the 95% of the BMI. BMI is short for Body Mass Index. BMI is calculated by weighing yourself in pounds, then measuring yourself in inches. Take your height in inches and square it (multiply it by itself), then divide by your weight. Once that’s completed, multiply your answer by 703. That’s how you get your BMI. This should be implemented in schools to raise awareness for the faculty, students, and parents. We must keep physical education in schools, because the results that one might get can and will be alarming, especially if you are a young child. Doing the BMI some schools may be more involved with the coaches and might get more time for teaching the children on how to stay active and live a healthy lifestyle.
P.E. classes can have many benefits to the students. One benefit of physical education is that it can lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol by engaging the students in a healthy lifestyle. In a study, 70% of obese children had at least one cardiovascular disease and 39% had two. Being obese may cause children to develop anxiety and depression due to hazing from other students and this may follow into their adult years. We must prevent that from happening to our kids by getting them involved in exercise. Schools should give more time to PE rather than taking it away. In fact, PE might be the only time a child might unwind and be itself without being judged by a teacher, friends, or family members.
There is a significant race and age variations in obese children and adolescents. In the years 2011-2012, Hispanics had the highest percentage of 22.4%. Then blacks were in second by 20.2%, and the whites in third by 14.1%. The one with fewer obese stats were the Asians by 8.6%. Physical education teachers should get active and start a movement to get their community involved in a healthy living lifestyle. Being near the border, one can see that Hispanics are the ones with higher risk for heart and obesity problems. Anything that will have a positive reward should be implemented in a school like P.E. The school system should have a week dedicated to health awareness that invites the community so get informed. By involving parents, the children will have an extra push to stay healthy and might get to the districts to give more time to exercises rather than having a child sit all day in class.
In recent studies, children with PE in school show an increase in their performance in their test scores. Just by walking for 20 minutes, the kids showed a significant increase in their academics. They show how the activity has an effect in the brain and you can see how the brain activity increases. They also show a graph that shows the correlation of fitness scores and academic scores. Those with high scores have high academic scores and those that don’t have low scores. It is crucial to not ignore this and to keep fitness in schools.
The epidemic that we are now facing is 100% curable if we decide to start taking action sooner than later. If we remove PE from school we are going to live an unhealthy, uncorrelated, unmotivated, sad life. PE might be the only place a child can unwind and have fun. They must practice their motor skills and develop them so they can function properly as they get older. Some kids don’t even know how to run properly due to lack of motor movement. We must enforce to keep PE in schools and give it more time. PE is not an elective; it’s a class that’s just as important as math. So let’s ensure a better future for our young generation and promote a healthy lifestyle starting with PE.