Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years resulting in a generation of children who are facing very adult health issues such as high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. This is an epidemic in our country—an epidemic that can easily be avoided. As homeschoolers, we have an inside track—a special ability to safeguard our children from becoming a part of this unhealthy statistic.
There are two primary factors resulting in the above statistic. First, children are not eating the right kinds of foods. Second, children are not getting enough exercise on a daily basis.
In terms of food, many children in the United States live on a diet of fast foods and processed foods. Many children go an entire week without eating a vegetable and others eat the majority of their meals (breakfast, lunch, and snacks) at their school cafeteria. Over 50 % of their caloric intake comes from food supplied by their public school. Have you seen a school lunch recently? Unappetizing and unhealthy! Public schools are failing when it comes to the food they dispense and when it comes to the exercise they provide.
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development reports that young children are not getting enough physical exercise/activity through their schools’ physical education (PE) programs. The third graders in the study spent an average of 25 minutes per week in moderate to vigorous activity. Experts recommend that children be involved in physical activity of a moderate to vigorous variety for 30–60 minutes every day.
Changing the trend in the rate of child obesity in America is not difficult as long as parents are willing to accept their responsibility for teaching their children healthy lifestyles. As homeschooling parents we can do that better than most parents. We have more control over what our children eat and we can build an adequate to an exceptional PE program into our homeschooling endeavors.
PE is fun and fun learning is forever learning!