I believe that exercise through physical education and sports activities are not being sufficiently encouraged in our schools, from elementary school through intermediate school and high school. Exercise appears to have become the exclusive domain of a select group of students who are typically participants in competitive sports events. Thus, all the other students who are not on the schools' athletic teams, have a propensity to become obese from an early age as a result of no physical education or sports activity at school. As these students grow older, the effects of depriving them of exercise starts multiplying exponentially by affecting the attitudes of others by association through friendships, at home, etc. I feel that all of us realize the scope of this neglect, but no one in a position to make changes seems to have the courage to admit what is true and then to take the initiative to make changes.
My suggestions for promoting healthy lifestyles in early childhood are quite simple :-
(1) All school gymnasiums should have basic exercise machines and equipment available for students' use, and their use should be promoted under age-appropriate supervision. Each week, each grade should have at least 1 period allocated to fitness exercises in the gymnasium. Some of the machines that could be used would be identical to the ones found at fitness centers such as Bally's or 24 Hour Fitness.
(2) During the school week, each grade should have at least 2 periods for supervised team sports such as softball, soccer, etc. e.g. A class could be divided into 2 teams, and rules set that would allow 1 hour of a game to be played on a sports field. A supervising coach would determine the level of competitiveness that would be right for a given age group of students.
(3) Arrange with nearby sports clubs that have age-appropriate coaching classes to be willing to sign up students who wish to participate in lessons on Saturdays at substantially discounted prices.
I believe all the above ideas are realistic, and local fitness and sports clubs would be willing to donate equipment and provide funds as well, in order to promote an awareness of the benefits of sports and exercise from an early age onwards. Healthier children will in turn increase exponentially the number of people affected, through their association with family members, friends and others.
On the opposite side of this equation, by not taking action, we are sending unhealthy messages to children, such as watching too much television and getting obese from a lack of school-supported exercise.
I hope to have an opportunity to be able to present this project as something that is not only feasible and economical, but which can be accomplished in a short time with a few simple steps.