My name is Ron Fields and I am a physical education teacher in Greeneville, TN at Hal Henard Elementary School. Physical Education in our school is a blend, if you will, of various components. Our program teaches motor skills, performance related fitness, sports skills, lifetime wellness activities, health, cross curricular in academics, and character education.
Our state, our region, and our local community face many health related challenges at the present time. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels are common attributes in the citizens who call our beautiful region home. Heart Attacks, stroke, and various forms of cancer all occur at high rates. Research strongly indicates that all of these diseases can be practically eradicated or dramatically reduced through “lifestyle” medicine. Exercise and eating healthy foods are the keys to success in this endeavor.
I work hard to teach our children these principles. It is an uphill battle as traditions run deep and many cook and prepare foods as their families have done in the past. Others lead busy lives and don’t have time to cook a traditional sit down family meal due to afterschool activities and opt for the convenient fast food establishments or other commercial food venues that serve up much of the nutrition, or lack thereof, that our families receive. Change begins with educating our children. They need to know that whatever choices they make in their lives regarding nutrition and exercise will result in either positive or negative consequences. And I think we need to tell them and show them what those consequences and benefits are.
Where else will they receive this message? It certainly isn’t coming from commercials or mainstream media. They may hear a tidbit here or there in passing, but this is not enough. Being 80 years of age and still able to participate in a game of tennis sure beats being 50 and being out of breath by simply walking to the mailbox to go retrieve the mail. My hope is that I am conveying this message to these children and am helping them to form ideas that will lead to healthy habits and choices, which will ultimately lead to a healthy lifestyle.
(Article originally published in 2014)