A healthy diet and plenty of exercise are key to living a healthy life. Nothing new here. We know that we should be eating healthy every day, and getting plenty of exercise. Yet, this ‘obesity epidemic’ keeps coming at us from every angle in the news and media that surround us. As Physical and Health educators, we know that our goal is to instill in the kids the importance of eating healthy, moving their bodies functionally, with a purpose. Unfortunately, PE alone is not enough time to make this happen. It’s not like we have the ability to look over our students’ shoulders when they eat dinner at night or play video games at home. When summertime comes, they are gone for up to 3 months -without a single Quality Physical Education class! We need help, and we have a laundry list of reasons why. But for now, let’s explore this from a different perspective -with the help of a little story.
Picture this: You are an elementary school Quality Physical Education (#QPE) teacher and you have a Kindergarten student named Jessica. Jessica is the sweetest, smartest student you have ever met. She always asks questions and works her very hardest. She runs, skips, jumps, and plays her little heart out. She knows all the food groups and sometimes she comes in your office to eat lunch with you. She asks you questions about fruits and vegetables and how much she should eat each day. She can spell all five components of fitness, and by the end of the year she knows their definitions too! As the years go by, Jessica gets smarter and smarter but her health isn’t increasing. Her fitness scores are not progressing and she is actually having a lot more trouble keeping up with the rest of the kids. She is overweight according to the BMI equation. She graduates the fifth grade and leaves you. She knows RDA’s, bones, muscles, macro-nutrients, components of health related fitness, but she isn’t very healthy or active. The end (and a very sad one).
So how do we explain what happened? Well, the answer is simple: while Jessica had all the knowledge in the world about diet and exercise… her parents didn’t. What’s worse, they didn’t want to listen to what Jessica constantly told them; perhaps, they were too busy or too tired to listen and take action. So, because Jessica didn’t buy the groceries for the family herself, she ended up eating unhealthy every morning, evening, and night. So, would the story change if she had more time in #QPE learning about a consistent and persistent approach to a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, what if health and fitness nights were available for her whole family? Things were really looking bleak for little Jessica, but don’t worry, because our story takes a turn for the better – thanks to the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (#HWCF)!
And while the #HWCF is not sporting a cape, it consists of 16 companies working together to accomplish something extraordinary, such as cutting calories at the source -the stores! They plan is to remove 1.5 trillion calories from the U.S. marketplace by 2015! Now that is a cool super-power, so Click here to read the article that breaks down what they are doing. So, in the end, there is hope for our little friend Jessica; she will be able to eat healthier, after all!
Stay happy, stay healthy, and keep that smile on folks!