Duh duh duh duh duhhh, I’m loving it! Who doesn’t like to sing along to McDonald’s ads? McDonald’s and the rest of the fast food industry love it too. Their message has penetrated deep into the heart, mind, and stomach of America. Obesity is a big problem in many parts of this country and fat culture has become part of the American culture.
The government is trying to combat this fat epidemic. And one of their main weapons is physical education.
Physical education means learning about fitness and health. “High-quality physical education instruction contributes to good health, develops fundamental and advanced motor skills, improves students’ self-confidence, and provides opportunities for increased levels of physical fitness that are associated with high academic achievement,” states the California Board of Education Physical Education standards book.
But take a step back. If you’re reading this article somewhere in the Lamorinda bubble, take a look around. Do you see any morbidly obese people like you would see in other parts of the country? The answer is most likely no.
This is because of the specific mindset of healthiness Lamorinda has desperately held onto as the rest of the world changes. True, there are fast food joints in the area but students around here don’t frequent these places on a regular basis, and if they do, their intense sports schedule balances out any negative effects. They eat fast food occasionally and certainly aren’t addicted. In many places, the only food options are fast food. This just isn’t the case in Lamorinda. There are other, healthier, and even usually better places to dine. The students here are healthy already and don’t need P.E.
The California Department of Education statement also mentions that P.E. “advances motor skills.” Miramonte is a very athletically decorated high school. The women’s basketball program was ranked 11th in the state last year. The men’s water polo team has won NCS year after year. The men’s cross-country team won NCS last fall. Men’s tennis also won NCS last year.
How were these feats accomplished? None of the credit needs to be attributed to the P.E. teachers.Their example of physical health and fitness is pathetic and not at all a model to look up to. The California Department of Education saying, “High quality physical education instruction contributes to good health” could not be more hypocritical.
P.E. is also hard on athletes. High achieving athletes particularly have a strong competitive spirit. This translates to the P.E. field and can lead to injuries to the best athletes at the school. Last Friday, sophomore Megan Melohn suffered a concussion when she was hit by a ball playing P.E. soccer. The concussion was incredibly painful and will force Melohn to miss over a week of cross country and lose valuable study time.
Physical education does teach some important things. The sophomore class will be pro at putting on condoms and will learn that you can in fact get sexually transmitted infections from monkeys. Very important knowledge in this day and age.
The statement on P.E. also says that it improves self-confidence. This is flat out wrong. P.E. actually decreases self-confidence. Putting muscular, athletic men together with skinny wimps and telling them to compete athletically is absurd. The machos get machoer and the wimps get wimpier.
This country needs a drug to cure the obesity epidemic, but that drug isn’t P.E. The American culture of over-indulgence needs to end. But not one person, or one institution, or one TV ad campaign is going to change that. People themselves need to change their habits and realize that what they are doing is harming to them and putting an unfair burden on healthcare.