Physical Education: How the World’s 12th Most Obese Country Can Exercise Itself Back Into Shape


Photo Credit: NHS Instagram

Mrs. Kathy Brenner, one of Nonnewaug’s Health & Wellness instructors , talks with her students on our soccer field about the benefits of living an active lifestyle. She can often be found in the gym, teaching P.E. to our school’s students, helping to combat obesity in our local area.

Neal Waites, Reporter

WOODBURY-  During the pandemic, many Americans have been forced into a sedentary life, often not getting enough exercise which leads to increasing obesity rates. However, even before the pandemic, America as a whole has been struggling with weight gain. Whether it be caused by poor diet or lack of exercise, this often overlooked killer has been plaguing Americans for decades.

When considering how America is struggling with obesity, the NHS Chief Advocate set out to discover how our high school is taking the proper steps necessary to overcome the alarmingly high obesity rate in America, and what steps we as a nation need to take in order to solve this crisis.

I think that Americans are way too busy to prepare nutritious meals at home,” said Kathy Brenner, one of Nonnewaug’s Health and Wellness instructors. “We do not sit at a dinner table with family and/or friends and focus on eating a good nutritious meal. Many Americans grab processed food on the go, order take-out, or cook quick processed foods at home.” 

The standard American diet is one of the leading causes of obesity in America right now. With fast food breakfast, lunch, and dinner being the norm for some Americans, and processed foods straight from the fridge or freezer aren’t much better. 

“Poor understanding of nutrition, ” added NHS’s other wellness instructor, Ryan Campanario. Campanario and Brenner are considered among campuses’ most well-versed on the topics of physical and mental health. 

When asked how we could combat obesity in America, Campanario added, “[you should] increase physical activity and place value on the need to be active[, as well as] explain, teach, [and] put value into how nutrition affects overall health.”

The importance of America’s obesity crisis should not be understated. Commonly, people are dying due to major health complications caused by obesity. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, obesity and weight-related issues combined are the second leading cause behind preventable death (right behind tobacco use), with a reported 300,000 Americans dying every year.

The NHS Chief Advocate sought out the answers to solve the obesity crisis in America, and the answers became clear: Americans as a whole are not valuing physical education and healthy diets as they should.

Obesity rates are continuing to rise as fewer and fewer people are becoming active and eating proper diets. Adding to this epidemic, who knows what the statistics will be after the pandemic, a major event that caused many people to live a more sedentary lifestyle with less activity and productivity.

The only way the education system can help pull Americans out of the clutch of obesity is to improve how we teach young people the benefits of dieting and physical activity.