As a child I rode the school bus to and from school with my best friend Nicole. She always sat in the seat across the aisle from me because I could not sit with her. Last month we flew to Vancouver. Nearly ten years later I was still unable to sit with my best friend. Nicole is 397 pounds and takes up two airplane seats.
There is a new concern that arises daily regarding healthy lifestyle choices. The rates of hypertension, strokes, cardiovascular disease and diabetes have all increased. The increasing numbers of these chronic diseases closely correlate with increased rates of obesity. Every year this growing epidemic progressively victimizing society’s youngest people – our children. Obesity is currently one of the greatest concerns with regards to child health. In fact, “incidence of obesity among Canadian children is close to 20% and…increasing every year” (Nieman, par. 1). Children and adolescents spend the majority of their daytime hours at school. Logically, they should be getting most of their exercise at school as well. Parents of school-aged children should advocate for mandatory, daily physical education class in order to help reduce the rates of childhood obesity.
Parents who oppose mandatory daily physical education class in school argue that their children should spend their study time on core courses. Core subjects such as English, mathematics, science and social studies are mandatory and physical education is currently optional. The parents’ argument is valid. Children and adolescents should aim to achieve good grades in courses that are required for graduation and are considered by colleges and universities for their acceptance. However, “research…associates better physical health and fitness with better academic performance…higher levels of creativity [and] increased engagement with school” (Robertson, par. 3). In addition, there has been no reported evidence supporting a correlation that time spent doing physical activity in school had negative effects on students performance academically (Robertson, par. 3). This information suggests that the time spent participating in a physical education class during school will not negatively affect a child’s grades.
It is understood that not all children are overweight or obese. Parents of children that are of average weight argue that their child does not need to be physically active because they are not overweight. Physical activity is not targeted at individuals who are overweight; physical activity is part of a healthy lifestyle. The Active Healthy Kids Canada 2009 Report Card states that only 13% of Canadian children are achieving the recommended 90 minutes of physical activity per day (qtd. in “Fighting,” par 13). Admittedly, some children have been blessed with favorable genetics; how frequently they participate in physical...