Childhood obesity’s on the rise, and there’s lots of reasons, ranging from increased “playtime” being in front of a computer screen or console gamebox, increased TV watching, and cheaper processed convenience foods. But another factor is that a lot of public schools are dropping physical education from their curriculum as a way of allocating funds to spend on the 3Rs — reading, writing, arithmetic — and passing all of those standardized tests.
The cost of cutting P.E. in the public schools, however, is increased childhood obesity, for, if the kid isn’t physically active at home, then where else will he/she be except at school? We *need* physical education as well as the “academics” in school — what’s the point of having all of these smart kids around if they’re ill because of high cholesterol, decreased lung function, bad joints, and diabetes?
And this from a person who *hated* P.E. in school — I loathed dodgeball and kickball in elementary school, despised volleyball and basketball drills and calesthenics and touch football in middle school, and barely tolerated the same in high school. The only thing I liked about P.E. in high school was running laps, but that was because it was simple and even that I hated, just hated less than the other ones. But it got me active, and I was actively playing outside when I was younger such that the idea of *not* moving around I inherently thought of as wrong — not “unhealthy” but just plain “wrong” — like holding your breath until you pass out is “wrong”. Sure you can do it, but you know it’s Not a Good Thing. It’s one of the things that I believe to this day.
So when you have a school that has cut out P.E. and reduced recess to non-existence for the goal of increasing academics, then it’s no *wonder* these kids see no problem with sitting on their ass, passively sucking up their favorite media-delivery device, and letting the food that they eat turn to the human equivalent of a camel’s hump all over their bodies rather than being fuel to burn.
So, we need to bring back P.E.