Why Johnny is Fat

May 14, 2009
Childhood obesity has become a major health issue in this country. Whether you believe the current statistical data or not, kids are bigger than ever. Five year-olds look eight, ten year-olds look twelve, and teenagers look like twenty-somethings. There is not one direct culprit either. Although some would lead you to believe that fast food is solely to blame or television or the internet. The truth is that one problem begets another. Things are more expensive for us than they were for our parents. So, Dad’s salary no longer pays all of the bills. Mom has to work. With Mom working, she has less time to cook. Shopping trips now include more food “the kids can make themselves.” These foods are usually sugar-filled, heavily-processed, fat-laden, and nutrient bankrupt.

With both parents working, who has time to help Johnny with his homework or take him to the library? His grades start to slip. They have slipped to the point that the government has to intervene. Schools are now held more accountable for Johnny’s performance through rigorous standardized testing. If Johnny does not meet the government standards on his test, teachers may be fired or the school may be closed. Feeling the pressure, schools removed ancillary classes. By the way, does anybody remember the last time a kid took Home Economics or Shop? The cuts ultimately filtered down to P.E. In Missouri, elementary school students are only required to take 50 minutes of P.E. per week. This boils down to one class period. How can anyone get in or maintain any type of condition doing one workout a week?

Johnny has very little structured physical activity in school now. He begins to act out. Let’s put it this way – Johnny is either going to jump on a trampoline in P.E. class or he’s going to jump off a desk in third hour. Johnny’s behavior forces the school to hire more administrators and counselors; whose salaries are higher than P.E. teachers. These hires raise the overall school budget which causes the school to ask taxpayers for more money. Mom and Dad’s taxes increase which causes them to work more and the vicious cycle continues.

There are several groups in Missouri who supported recent legislation to raise the P.E. requirement. The Bill died in committee. However, the story does not end here. You can do several things with your family to increase their fitness level. Walking, running, biking, calisthenics, even playing basketball are all great activities. Did you know that basketball was created as exercise? Dr. James Naismith invented basketball to keep his football players and baseball players in shape during the off-season. That’s the main reason why basketball season is during the winter months – between football and baseball. I have several friends who live for fitness. There really is something for everyone. I have listed several websites, but there are many more. If you want more information please comment or drop me an email. Until next time…

Be a Good Sport!

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