Does Obesity Play a Part in Education?

As of 2009-2010, the CDC has stated that out of the children between the ages of twelve to nineteen, 18.4% are obese. Although, as linked here, information for 2012 is not given, we can conclude from the adults of 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, that the children’s obesity rate is growing as well. Besides the obvious health impacts obesity can have on individuals as well as society over all, obesity effects youth in an academic setting as well. It may impair student’s abilities to read, make good test scores, and understand how to take care of themselves – which some may say is the best education of all.

It is shown that it is harder for obese students to learn. (photo by FBellon)

There are many reasons as to why students might not have the same test scores as a healthy student, although none have, as of 2010, been pinpointed as the main cause of lower grades for obese students.

#1: Students May Lack Self Esteem if Obese

According to¬†WLR, there may be a link between education and self-esteem. As I stated in the article, Tips for Teaching Children: Part Two, we must first build up student’s confidence before worrying about accuracy. If they do not have the confidence, they will not try, and thus, they will not learn. A partial reasoning for obesity, besides diet, is a lack of exercise. Without exercise at this critical age, individuals could become depressed, sluggish, and self-loathing.

#2: Their Brains Are Physically Different

Webmd states that insulin resistance can be directly correlated to obesity. This, in turn, can be reversed with daily exercise and taking care of your body. However, if the majority of students do not understand how to read nutrition facts, nor take care of their bodies adequately, we will live in a spiral. Without mental ability, you will not be able to take care of your body. Without taking care of your body, you will not have the necessary mental abilities. To overturn metabolic syndrome, which is being found in adolescents with obesity, we have to start moving.

If we want a healthy society, less money poured into hospital bills yearly, more money in our pockets, and a higher capacity for learning, we must change our habits now. First lady, Michelle Obama, has done a lot of work to help stop childhood obesity. However, are our schools doing the best they can? To this day, as I purchase school lunches, I am unable to receive more than one vegetable in a day. I find that to be unhelpful in my endeavors to become healthier and change my lifestyle to one more fit. However, there are substitutes, such as bringing your own food to school, where ten out of the normal twenty-one meals per week are spent in school for many students.

It is not anyone’s fault that we have not reformed our own lives. The race is not over, and there is a lot more to be done to help adolescents change their lives around. Students have to help themselves before anyone else’s attempts would be worthwhile with the same fierceness that some students have to get their college degrees.

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