Just like math, English and science, physical activity must be a core part of the public school curriculum. It's just too important to ignore.
Childhood obesity is an increasing epidemic as more young people are lured to video games and television rather than the swingset outside.
In 1978, only 15 per cent of children were overweight or obese. By 2007, Statistics Canada found that 29 per cent of adolescents had unhealthy weights, according to the Childhood Obesity Foundation. Most adolescents do not outgrow this problem and, in fact, many continue to gain weight. If trends continue, by 2040, up to 70 per cent of adults 40 years and over will be overweight or obese.
In 2005, the total cost of obesity to Canadians was $4.3 billion; $1.8 billion in indirect health care costs, and $2.5 billion in indirect costs.
One way to tackle this is through the public education system. Although school budgets are tight, it's important that districts continue to provide substantial physical education programs for students. Also, we need more innovative initiatives to help combat childhood obesity.
But the onus shouldn't fall only on our education system. Parents play a vital role in teaching their kids healthy eating habits while ensuring they stay active at home.
As more people realize how big a problem childhood obesity is, we can move closer to resolving this issue.
© Copyright 2013