Children are the future of any nation, and their health and well-being are the essential preconditions for the successful development of the United States. Due to the modern sedentary lifestyle and increased obesity levels, it is strongly recommended to the government of California to reevaluate its physical education policy.
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A range of factors cause obesity, with junk food being the primary one, but the lack of physical activity also contributes much to the rise of the state’s obesity level. According to the recent report of California Department of Public Health, nowadays in California, only 16,1% of adolescents and 30,4% of older children spend at least 60 minutes a day on physical exercise (3); about 16% of adolescents are obese (11). With sweeping budget cuts, spending on P.E. programs decreases. The schools start to lack credentialed staff and reduce P.E. lessons time. Academic performance and preparation for graduation tests are seen as the key priority. Moreover, the Californian policy allows junior and senior high school students to get exemptions from P.E. classes (Gojnic 15).
Taking into account the trends in the overall health of the Californian children, the governors should change the approach to their policy regarding physical education. Applying Kraft and Furlong’s criteria of good public policy (380), the increase of P.E. funding should be effective (the process of education will be balanced, more opportunities will be created for physical activities), efficient (more money will be spent on preventing obesity and health problems rather than on coping with them) and equitable (healthy children will bring further healthy generations). Children will become healthier and more successful in their academic performance (Trost and van der Mars 64).
Bearing in mind that now may parents take initiatives in making P.E. obligatory in all school grades (Adams par.1), this policy will also be socially feasible; the same can be told about political feasibility (Kraft and Furlong 382). Raising P.E. budgets is also reasonable concerning Popple and Leighninger’s social work values, among which are the welfare of the people, equality of opportunities and social justice (11).
Overall, it can be seen that establishing obligatory physical education in all school grades will help to solve the obesity problem in California. The new policy should ensure the increase in P.E. funding and engagement of the civil society to the process of decision-making in this field.
Adams, Jane Meredith. Lawsuit Agreement to Force Schools to Provide Physical Education. 2015. Web.
California Department of Public Health 2014, Obesity in California: The Weight of the State, 2000-2012. Web.
Gojnic, Yovana 2015, Adolescent Physical Activity Levels: The Influence of High School Physical Education Participation. Web.
Kraft, Michael, and Scott Furlong. Public Policy: Politics, Analysis, and Alternatives. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2014. Print.
Popple, Philip, and Leslie Leighninger. Social Work, Social Welfare, and American Society. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 2011. Print.
Trost, Steward, and Hans Van Der Mars. “Why We Should Not Cut P.E.” Health and Learning 67.4 (2010): 60-65. Print.