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Benefits of Physical Education for College Students

College Will Now Create Healthy Students

Freshman 15, gaining 15 pounds in your first year in college? Who wants to do that? How can we prevent it? Some people come to college and eat a lot because they can and there isn’t a limit to how much you can eat. Others participate in athletics which allows them to stay active and in shape, but what about the rest of the college’s students that aren’t in athletics and don’t work out on their own? They will continue eating and laying around when not busy with homework or classes. More people are becoming lazy and don’t want to do any physical activity and it is one of the leading causes of the obesity rate in America. It has in effect on children too! We are beginning to allow electronics to control our lives, everywhere we go we have our phone, we read, type, draw, and play with our phones. Loras College, in my opinion, should require a physical education class for students not involved in athletics because it will help freshmen not to gain 15 pounds within their first year, make it easier for those who want to have a PE class take one, and the food insecurity.

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Going into college as a freshman we tell ourselves that we’re not going to gain the 15 pounds and be a part of the “Freshman 15” squad, but gaining 15 pounds happens to many of us that say we aren’t going to gain it. The World Health Organization says that one of the leading global health problems in the world is weight gain (de Vos et. al). Many people, not only in college, allow themselves to eat a huge amount of food and never exercise or do any kind of physical activity and it’s leading to a large number of health problems. Elementary and high schools try to promote weight loss by encouraging students to join sports, having a weight room inside the school, and a required PE class, but study shows that people who are very successful at losing weight end up gaining it all back in years later (de Vos et. al). During a freshman’s first semester in college is the time they tend to gain the most weight (de Vos et. al). Many colleges are starting to have more students become overweight and I believe administrators at colleges should require non-athletes to take a physical education class to help prevent and decrease the amount of weight gain in one’s first semester of college. Some may say it would be a bit unfair to have a requirement just for non-athletes but as an athlete I am here to say we are already participating in an excessive amount of workouts and practices, also on diets/nutrition plans and non-athletes aren’t on these plans, meaning that they are free to eat whatever they want. Another big contributing factor that some may forget about weight gain is food insecurity.

A person physically active has a more positive physiological and psychological health life (Lackman et. al). Physical activity is not only proven to prevents obesity but exercising regularly reduces a person’s risk of chronic diseases and is an antidepressant (Lackman et. al). About 50% of college students say that they haven’t participated in any physical activity since they’ve graduated high school and in high school physical activity is required (Lackman et. al). Schools are doing their best to try to promote a healthy lifestyle, but it’s hard when people are not motivated to live that healthy style. Studies show those who are in a physical activity class changes his/her attitudes, knowledge about behaviors, and lifestyles for chronic disease prevention (Lackman et. al). Overall, Loras College should require non-athletes to enroll in physical education classes, but it could also be harmful.

Requiring students to take a physical education class can be harmful or even hurtful because others may make hurtful jokes about someone because their too slow or too fat. The student who is in the class could have asthma or other heart or health problems, therefore, participating in a PE class could possibly hurt their body instead of helping. A person can work out for one or two hours and not see any results (Which odds are they wouldn’t see any) so they might give up and they’ll go back to eating all the food that harms the body instead of having the determination to continuing to try. Sometimes students, or people in general, aren’t very comfortable being in a classroom with those who may be more fit than them. It might make them feel insecure about themselves and make them not want to participate in any activities or exercises because they may be trying to avoid embarrassment.

Food insecurity is the lack of consistent access to enough food for an active and healthy life (United States Department of Agriculture). For example, if you are a freshman in the cafeteria at Loras College, you will see Loras had some healthy options, but when away from your parents you don’t need to eat your fruits and vegetables, but students are becoming obese because of it. Cafeterias that are buffet style makes the problem worse (Bruening et. al). If campus’s offered healthier options would students eat healthily. Maybe athletes and a small amount of non-athletes might, but most don’t what leads them to be obese until later in life. If Loras offered a required physical education class it would certainly help with positive energy around campus because “the healthier you are, the better you’ll feel.” Also, some people would actually enjoy going to the gym and would like to take a course on it to learn more while in college.

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The question I have been asking myself for the past 6 hours is the same questions Universities and Colleges should be asking themselves. How would a requirement course of PE actually benefit the students or harm them more? If Loras College should require a physical education class to be able to graduate. I think that they should because it’s proven in helping people in tremendous ways. It has been shown in scientific studies that exercise and physical activity is like a treatment for some mental illnesses such as depression. (Lackman et. al). Being physically active helps more people rather than hurts.

References Page

  • Bruening, M., Van Woerden, I., Todd, M., & Laska, M. N. (2018, January). Hungry to Learn: The Prevalence and Effects of Food Insecurity on Health Behaviors and Outcomes Over Time Among a Diverse Sample of University Freshman. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=hungry to learn: the prevalence and effects of food insecurity
  • De Vos, P., Hanck, C., Neisingh, M., Prak, D., Groen, H., & Faas, M. M. (2015, April). Weight Gain in Freshman College Students and Perceived Health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26844076
  • Lackman, J., Smith, M. L., & McNeill, E. B. (2015, June). Freshman College Students’ Reasons for enrolling in and Anticipated Benefits from a Basic College Physical Education Activity Course. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=freshman college students’ reasons for enrolling

         US Department of Agriculture. (2019). Definitions of Food Security. Retrieved from https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/food-nutrition-assistance/food-security-in-theus/definitions-of-food-security.aspx


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