Children's Health Education sign now

Obesity has only recently become a problem in the United States. Not only the amount of obese adults, but also the percentage of obese children, has rapidly increased. According to the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, in 1991, none of the 50 states had recorded an obesity prevalence greater than 20\% and only 4 states had an obesity prevalence rate between 15-19\%. In 2000, 22 states (48\%) had an obesity prevalence rate lower than 20\%. But in the year 2005, only 5 years later, only 4 states had a rate lower than 20\% and 17 had a rate higher than 25\% (U.S Obesity Trends 1985-2005). In less than 20 years, the rate of obesity prevalence in the United States has risen considerably in numbers. As concerned parents, sisters, brothers, and friends, actions should be taken to better the health, and lives, of those we care about.

According to the National Association of State Boards of Education, in the state of Texas is it the law for schools to provide physical activity for children in grades K-6, with a minimum of 30 minutes a day or 135 minutes per week requirement (State Level School Health Policies). Other states are shown to have a lower requirement for physical education in the lower grade levels. An increased amount of time put aside each day during the school day for some kind of physical activity would most probably decrease the obesity problem in our country. This increased amount of time can allow physical activity to become a part of the childs lifestyle, reducing the risk of obesity later in life. Just as a child learns to tie his/her shoe, he/she can learn the benefits of leading an active lifestyle.

Another thing that can be changed in the school systems that can benefit children is changing the types of food that are served during school lunches. Yes, it is more costly to improve and make the foods healthier, but arent children worth it? If these children are the ones who will be running this country in a few decades, they should be in the best shape possible, both in body and mind. Allowing kids to eat junk food, fried foods, and those high in sugars is also only adding on to the problem of obesity. Cases of Diabetes II are rapidly increasing in children, and this is greatly affected by the substances that we put in our bodies. Sweets should not be completely abolished from childrens diets, but they should be allowed only in moderation. Without changing the foods in schools, only changing what kids eat at home will not be of much benefit. Because they are in school for most of the day, children are greatly influenced in their school environments. By substituting foods in schools with more nutritional items, children can attain much healthier, and benefiting, eating habits.

Improvements in the physical education and nutrition programs in schools are not the only way to improve the obesity rate in the United States, but its a start. The habits needed for a healthy lifestyle can be learned in the home, but, for a child, school is a great influence. We, the undersigned, agree that actions should be taken to increase schools emphasis on physical activity, nutrition, and all health issues.

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Dawn RodriguezBy:
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U.S. and state governments, school boards

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