#3: The importance of a healthy lifestyle
Schools are getting better at this but much more needs to be done to emphasise the urgency of this issue with our students.
The world is facing an obesity crisis.
Those words aren’t my anecdotal musings – they’re substantiated by lots of data. The Word Health Organisation publishes statistics on global obesity and in their most recent report (dated February 2018) they state:
- Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975
- 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016
- Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016
The report also states that obesity is preventable, which is true: a balanced diet and good physical exercise, when embedded from an early age, can dramatically reduce the chances of adolescent and adult obesity and associated health problems.
In Japan, schools take health education to a whole new level. Students are actively involved in designing the school’s lunch menu based on nutritional value. For Japanese schools, lunchtime is just as much a part of education as Science and Mathematics.
Beginning in elementary school, kids come to understand that what you put into your body matters a great deal in how you think and feel throughout the day.
“Japan’s standpoint is that school lunches are a part of education, not a break from it.” – Masahiro Oji, a government director of school health education, told the Washington Post in 2013.
A good model for schools around the world? I think so.
Article continues on next page…