- - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Political correctness is making our kids fat.

You read that right. Warm, fuzzy well-intentioned yet poorly thought-out politically correct ideas are making our children obese. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

The percentage of children 6–11 years old in the United States who were obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents 12–19 years old who were obese increased from 5 percent to nearly 21 percent over the same period.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance” — too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed. Kids today aren’t active enough to burn off the calories.

The 1980 statistics are from an era when elementary school gym class consisted of intense physical activities like basketball, rope climbing and an old favorite, dodgeball. As was the case in math, English or science, some kids were more gifted than others in physical education. Some excelled in the various forms of exercise and some did not, but every child participated. Everyone got a workout. In short, it was healthy.

As a youngster, I was competitive in the traditional sports, but didn’t have great arm strength. When we first started doing pull-ups in gym, my total was … zero. But after a couple of classes where the girls could witness our strength or lack thereof, some of the other boys and I found it in us to manage a few. Never underestimate the power of incentive.

Learning the concept of incentive and working toward goals is a big part of sports anyway. Understanding the importance of teamwork, measuring your own improvement and feeling good about being in shape are all benefits of athletics, even if it’s only in gym class.

At least those were the lessons until political correctness began to kick in. Many of the traditional sports have been removed from gym classes and are now considered “too competitive.” It is said they might harm the self esteem of the less athletic students.

Physical education classes today often consist of classroom/textbook type learning about the importance of exercise rather than actual exercise itself.

Every kid gets a trophy today simply for participating in Little League, Pee Wee Basketball or other organized sports. Gone are the days when you actually had to win in order to earn a trophy. Just showing up is enough. Gone is the incentive to excel. Winning or losing? It doesn’t matter. Why practice? Why improve? Just give me my trophy.

Ironically, at the same time that we’ve watered down PE classes and children’s athletics in an effort to assure that no kid sprains his self esteem, First lady Michelle Obama is pushing kale and cutting brownies from school lunch programs everywhere. The lunch changes and the loss of actual exercise are competing politically correct agendas. Who wins in this PC battle?

If you check out the number of fat kids, it’s obvious the easy trophies and PE classes with more pencils than balls are winning. The PC agenda is making our kids obese.

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