Schools need better education on physical health

In health class during freshman year, we learned the basics of nutrition, ending the unit by creating our own balanced meal. However, I did not feel properly prepared for designing my meals smartly. I tried looking at nutrition labels and eating right, but quickly failed. Although health class does provide a good baseline on nutrition education, it does not properly prepare students to eat smartly in the future. Students should have yearly nutrition education to reinforce what they learned their freshmen year.

As a kid, I was never really taught about the food groups and how to eat right by designing meals around them. Physical education classes start from a young age, but they never taught us about a proper diet, despite the whole class learning how to be physically healthy. If students were taught the basics of nutrition and how to create balanced meals from a young age, by the time we reach health class in high school we would have the healthy habits that allow us to eat right.

Schools do not do enough to teach students to fight against diet culture, as the media’s portrayal of skinny public figures is very harmful to young children and teens. Our culture dictates that skinny is healthy, and in order to get skinny you cannot eat certain foods. The reality behind the situation is that eating right is not easy, especially if you did not have the proper education that prevents you from forming bad habits.

I had to learn that depriving myself of some foods does not work, as the brain only wants what it can’t have, and that everything in moderation is key. Working against these cultural ideas is important to stay on track and to not lose the confidence to eat right.

Like many other people in quarantine, I have gained weight due to my poor nutrition. I have had to hire a nutritionist to correct my years of poor dieting skills, which I do not think should be necessary for a student still in school. Schools have done a fine job in providing the basics on nutrition in health class, but starting earlier would make them even better at forming healthy habits that can last.


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