We often talk about issues related to learning and skills needed, but I want to focus on something else this week, something that is often overlooked and not considered that important. The issue is that of teaching our children to have a healthy lifestyle and to take care of their bodies.
As part of the Dalat ESLR (expected school-wide learning result) Faithful Steward, one of its tenants is the following statement, “Our students will develop a lifestyle that will enhance and extend their physical well-being for a lifetime.”
In today’s world that is a very strong statement and not an easy one to fulfill. Just take a look at some of the statistics related to health:
- WHO (World Health Organization) is calling obesity an epidemic with over 1 billion adults overweight and at least 300 million of them obese. (1)
- Obesity rates have risen three-fold or more since 1980 in some areas of North America, the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, Australasia, and China.2
- The obesity epidemic is not restricted to industrialized societies; the increase is often faster in developing countries than it is in the developed world. (2)
Recently more and more schools have moved away from requiring health and PE classes as part of the graduation requirements. This is not just because of budgetary constraints but also because of the increased offerings by schools in specialty areas and advanced courses.
Dalat still requires our high school students to take a health class and fitness class to graduate from our school. We also offer PE courses as an elective. In our middle school and elementary PE classes are a regular part of the week. A healthy lifestyle and an understanding of the importance of being “fit for life” is part of our education for life.
So what can we do to help enable and encourage our children to be involved in a healthy lifestyle?
- Model good eating habits (not having cola drinks all the time, not eating out every meal, encouraging the eating of fruits and vegetables).
- Get your children out of the house. Find ways to encourage and require them to get involved in physical activities.
- Have bedtimes — studies have linked weight gain and other health issues directly to lack of sleep.
- Encourage your kids to eat a healthy breakfast as skipping or skimping on this meal has a negative effect on your body throughout the rest of the day.