Obesity and schools
There is currently a big push to offer more healthy fare in school cafeterias, and it is certainly a good idea. The days that I fail to bring my own lunch to school are always days of tension, as there is no way that an adult who is concerned about their weight can eat the food in the school cafeteria. It seems like 80% of the calories come from starches and fat. I would love to be able to explain to the people who make up the menus in a typical school that if you substitute ground turkey for beef as an ingredient (which by the way, unfortunately, tastes completely different, and by that I mean unpleasant), that cooking it in lard is spectacularly missing the point. If I'm going to clog my arteries, it should at least taste good. Which is the first problem: healthier fare won't do any good, either, if the kids won't eat it.
But there is another problem that is more important, if we are going to take this issue seriously. My school district currently requires 1.5 credits in physical education during the four years of high school, and the half credit is taken care of by a health class. There is currently talk of reducing this to one credit. In middle school, many students attend PE only every other day if they play a musical instrument. This is not enough. Then there is the fact that I often easily lap students taking "Power Walking" when I'm walking from one hallway to another on my planning period without breaking a sweat-- even in my street clothes and as ancient as I am.
Now, before people think that I've gone all "Multiple Intelligences" on them, let me say that I am all about the primacy of academics in schools. Nor do I believe that it is the job of schools to solve all societal ills-- far from it! However, physical education has been part of the educational landscape for decades now. My experience has been that people can use their brains better when they are not prisoners of lethargy. Physical education is a key component in an excellent education.