Posted by: Tony Carson | 22 October, 2007

Sitting still in school “intolerable, unethical and uncivilized”

We are told that boys are falling way behind in school these days for a number of reasons, one of which is that they simply have an innate inability to sit still in a chair for long periods of time.

But not only are they not learning, they are getting fat in the process.

One of the world’s leading obesity researchers is lashing out at the sedentary nature of schools, saying the lack of physical activity in the curriculum is “unethical” and “uncivilized,” and at the root of the childhood obesity epidemic.

“Schools, it’s time to wake up,” Jean-Pierre Després said yesterday in a fiery keynote speech to the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Quebec City.

“It’s totally unethical to keep our kids prisoners of a sedentary lifestyle,” he said in calling for daily physical education classes and more playtime.

Dr. Després, the scientific director of the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk at Laval University, said the number of obese and overweight children is frighteningly high and the chief culprits are inactivity and poor nutrition.

While stressing that he doesn’t want to “let parents off the hook,” he said it is no coincidence that children spend the bulk of their waking lives in schools, where physical activity is minimal, nutritional education is virtually non-existent and food choices are often poor. He described that environment as “toxic.”

Dr. Després said not only are children inactive, they are losing the ability and the will to move. “Kids can’t run any more. They can’t even run a quarter-mile. I don’t accept that, in a civilized society, this is tolerable.”

Full story:  Schools blasted for obesity epidemic.


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