Yup, that’s a pretty bold question. I’m not implying that parents are teaching their kids to be fat, but some are certainly not helping them make healthy choices.
Where this comes from is something one of my daughters said yesterday when we were coming home from their school.
Me – “How was school today?”
DD – “It was great!”
Me – “Wow! What did you do that made it great?”
DD – “We played soccer in QDF!”
That, in its self, amazed me. QDF/DPA, as most parents will know, is mandated by the Ministry of Education in Ontario. Normally what we hear about this 20 minute daily class exercise requirement, which disguise itself as what we used to know as gym class, is that they danced, they walked or they did something equally non-athletic. I’m not saying that dance is not athletic, but dance led by grade 5’s or 6’s…you get it. On days when the “real” gym class happens, you don’t need QDF/DPA. From the Ministry of Education Website:
“Healthy Growth and Development- The school implement the QDF/DPA program, by training the junior students to be leaders. With their primary buddy. These students follow a schedule by which they go into the various classes, and lead the students through a 10-15 minutes aerobic workout. All students benefit physically, mentally and have fun.
Anyone else notice that it’s supposed to be a mandated 20 minute program, but the student leaders only do 10-15 minutes aerobic workout?
So you can understand that I was shocked when I was told they played soccer! After I asked a few questions, I learned that what was playing soccer was being told about the game by the teacher, and this was actually gym class!
The ‘soccer playing’ was achieved by the teacher spending the majority of the time reading a book about dinosaurs playing soccer…(Ooooooh…that’s productive and in library they did what? Shot put??) Then they did some running with the ball and then, back to the books. Wow…what a great achievement in exercise!!
Everywhere we turn you can find a story about childhood obesity being at epidemic levels. This generation of children is expected to be the first generation where life expectancy is shorter for them than it is for us. This comes right from the Education ministries website:
“…during the past twenty-five years, obesity rates among children have increased substantially, with the result that a large number of children face the risk of developing such serious illnesses as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and some cancers.”
Hmmm. Seems to me over the last 25 years the education industry has gotten away from competition, exercise and health too. Coincidence?
Why? Health care is better than ever, there is more known about the cause of disease and illness, we have a better understanding of fitness now than ever before. So why is childhood obesity so rampant.
Lets see, no real gym classes in the schools, video games, cars to get everywhere. A lack of recreational facilities to support the rapid growth of towns has left huge waiting lists to get into programs. The list goes on and on. Lets not forget the uber-kids that are enrolled in athletic programs from 3:30 to 8:00 every evening. That sounds great but where is their food coming from? The microwave, the drive through, a box? Real foods aren’t even eaten to fuel the more active kids. What do they learn? Grab food products that are convenient instead of making food that is healthy and has real nutritional value. Oh yeah, I can’t forget, “I give my son a bottle of GatorPower to ensure he replaces his electrolytes and energy stores!” What, is Jr. a world-class athlete that spends his time burning through a couple of thousand calories per workout? Don’t think so. That thought process is brought to you by mass marketing.
Some of the healthiest countries in the world still have full-blown gym classes that start at a very early age where the kids are taught sports and exercise and health. There isn’t a prevalence of food products in those countries, but food. You don’t get a meal in a box that just needs to be thrown in a microwave.
If you want your children to be healthy, take it upon yourself to set a great example. Sit down as a family to eat meals or pre-make meals that can be warmed up instead of going to the drive thru.
Tell your school boards that you want real gym classes put back into the curriculum and get rid of those things that don’t create life skills for their future. Sorry, but learning about festivals that are celebrated around the world have no bearing on their future when the three R’s and your child’s health are suffering.
When did winning and losing, achieving and failure become bad things? Sorry, that’s another rant…I’ll leave that alone. I don’t want to sound like I’m ragging on teachers, I know they teach the curriculum they are handed…and the good ones I’ve talked to are just as frustrated.
What do you do? AM I right, or am I off base here? Is this just too much of a personal opinion, or do you share the same views? Let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.