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OPINION: PE classes should improve education to curb obesity

By Alex Richards

The percent of people who are obese has reached a staggering 36.5 percent of adults, according to the CDC. This number has not changed since 2011 when 36% percent of adults were considered obese by the CDC. This high percent comes many from insufficient education and knowledge. People also don’t understand the problems that come with being obese, and how to lose weight once obese. Though much of this can be avoided, people are not always given the correct information, and this correct information should come when they are young. This includes an improvement in physical education to give a more in-depth look at certain factors of obesity and how to prevent them.

Unfortunately, the problem is not just with adults, due to the U.S. having some of the highest rate of obesity among young people in the world. Physical education classes should be at the forefront of education on what students should be doing to prevent this from happening. The classes should expand to reinforce ideas that are taught in health classes, including proper nutrition, sleep, and regular exercise outside of school.

“They are always looking to improve courses,” said Dwayne Zimmerman, a PE teacher at Batavia High School.

This means that the teachers are open and want to change the class that they teach, improving both the environment and what the students get out of the class.

The teacher’s attitude for change is greatly important when pursuing a better PE curriculum, but more is needed from the school.  Due to many people often being unaware of the deadly consequences that come from being obese. The CDC says that people who suffer from obesity are more likely to have a stroke, have high blood pressure, develop some types of cancers, suffer from a mental illness, and have a lower quality of life overall.

So steps need to be taken to help young students become better equipped to handle taking care of themselves once they leave high school. A focus that PE classes should add to their curriculum is nutrition. This is due to the fact that many people become confused when the topic turns to proper nutrition. Such as not being able to understand nutrition facts that are placed on the back of food.

A recent study shows how important proper nutrition is among young people. The study published by National Institutes of Health National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases showed how the major health risks that food bring mainly are brought from sugar and artificial sweeteners within the food. These sweeteners are causing a variety of problems, especially among young people and they should be educated about the adverse effects and what to eat instead if they want to stay healthy.
Zimmerman is interested in teaching a class with these values in mind.

“I would love to have a class on just nutrition and talk about the benefits, the adverse effects of different types of foods,” Zimmerman said.

Though some of the suggested fixes are only partial fixes, the school should begin to work on implementing them and the results would begin to speak for themselves.

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