The increase in childhood obesity and teenage obesity is steadily growing. The health risks linked to obesity are serious and it is of greater concern if these health risks are appearing in a younger age group. Of major concern is the increase in weight-related diabetes. Teaching children about healthy eating and fitness has never been more important. To ensure youngsters live a fit and healthy lifestyle, they need to receive accurate education in school.
Fast food is everywhere, and the price and convenience makes it an attractive option over home-cooking. The truth is that healthy eating starts in the home. However, this is not usually the reality. Many families do not promote healthy eating and it is common for busy parents to provide a diet made up of processed and convenience foods with a distinct lack of fresh fruit and vegetables. This is where schools can help. Health education in schools must promote the importance of a healthy diet in childhood and the way this can impact on adult life.
Promotion of exercise and body fitness is also vitally important. Many primary schools already encourage their students to walk or cycle to school, however secondary schools could do more to promote a healthy lifestyle, and sport and fitness classes need to be increased. One hour of physical education per week is not nearly enough. Most teenagers spend much of their time on social media or games consoles when they are at home. Physical education and the encouragement of young people to join sports teams for extra-curricular activities needs a more prominent place within school timetables.
Having home economics classes as part of the regular, compulsory curriculum for boys and girls would also teach the important life and cooking skills that all secondary school children need. They could be taught the components of a healthy eating plan which could in turn contribute to a reduction in obesity in children. The physical health of children would improve if they were taught how to maintain a healthy lifestyle as part of their overall education.