Good nutrition, exercise essential for students
Published: Thursday, January 3, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 5:07 p.m.
This is the time of the year when I am in a reflective mode. Much of my thoughts are centered around the self-assessment of my progress during the past year.
I am usually thinking about my weight gain, my spiritual growth, health-related issues, job performance and exercising my body and mind to get the best out of life.
I am sure, I, like most people who make New Year's resolutions and promises to ourselves, fall short of the goals we set. However, I do keep in focus, reminding myself that I'm not perfect, and that the mere fact that I'm putting forth the effort gives me some comfort.
Hopefully, just maybe, I'm getting some benefits that my on-and-off meager promises to do good are helping me in some way.
Developing a fit body is a major hurdle for most people (even for me), who are wrapped up in their careers and raising families. However, there seems to be many writings about the lifestyles of most Americans.
It appears we are doing too much of the wrong things. Our eating habits and the lack of exercise in our lives have produced major health issues for the current and the next generation. It appears that the right education about what we are doing to ourselves is not getting to certain segments of our communities, or if it is, the message is being ignored.
To be blunt, the experts say, ‘‘we are eating ourselves into an early grave," eating the wrong foods and eating portions that are far too much to maintain a healthy body and mind. Not only are we doing it to ourselves, we are passing on these poor habits to our children.
Somehow, we must change the culture of the way we prepare our food and how we eat, and also how we spend our leisure time. To get the best out of life, there must be change in the way we approach our everyday life.
Included in our struggle to stay healthy, there must be a daily plan and a commitment to improve one’s-self.
Another perspective for us to entertain is that a healthy body produces a healthy mind. What we consume in our bodies affect the way we think and our ability to think.
It is absolutely imperative that our school-age children eat a balance diet, eating all
the right foods to produce the desired results.
Children need a variety of fresh vegetables (broccoli, squash, spinach, carrots, greens, asparagus etc.) and also fruits and some protein to maintain a healthy body.
As I read about good nutrition, dietitians recommend that we all should avoid sweets and large amounts of carbohydrates, especially our youth. These foods tend to interfere with good sleeping habits and concentration.
School-age children are finding it difficult to focus properly on their studies when they consume high levels of these types of food. The benefits of healthy food and daily exercise must be passed along to our youth so that they can make it part of their everyday life, and some day pass this information on to their children when the time comes.
It is essential that we discover the value of a healthy lifestyle so that we are able to compete with groups who have already discovered the fountain of youth and the pleasures that life has to offer from eating healthy and exercising daily.
Once the body is on its way to becoming physically fit and receiving the proper amount of nutrition, then there is the mind.
How do we exercise the mind? The brain is challenged when it is active. The brain is most productive and stimulated when engaged in problem solving, memorization and reading.
The key ingredients for a healthy mind encompasses all three of the aforementioned. I know in some households one will argue the point that the television is a substitute to engage the mind.
Clearly, the research has proven that this belief is counterproductive when attempting to cultivate the mind. We must drop this notion immediately.
In the weeks and months ahead, I think it would be wise for us to exercise to strengthen our physicality as well as our mind for good mental health. Keep in mind, this is not supposed to be easy, but the benefits from our hard work are so wonderful.
Each day, we will gain confidence and have a greater outlook on life. Once we understand and experience a healthier lifestyle, we must share this good feeling with our children.
If they are to be successful in our schools, it behooves us as parents to fulfill our duty as responsible adults to equip our children with the best information to give them the greatest of opportunities. Training them early in their lives has monumental rewards later in their adult life.
Education starts in the home. Let’s train our children on good nutrition and good healthy exercise for a healthier life. We owe it to them and ourselves.
Happy New Year.
Philoron Wright is assistant to the superintendent of community and schools for Alachua County Public Schools.
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