Obesity in the UK: Better PE lessons can help us slim

School offers a real chance to teach children to exercise. We shouldn't keep squandering the opportunity

Share

England has a massive problem – literally. Three in four people in some parts of the country are overweight or obese, according to Public Health England, an organisation which likes telling us how bad public health is.

A top ten of the country’s fattest towns and cities shows that large people outweigh their thinner counterparts in number as well as pounds. Forget Top of the Pops, this calorie-laden chart is more like Eat Till You Pop, with Cumbria’s 63 per cent overweight rate leading the way. And it’s not as if Scotland and Wales are a picture of health either: overweight people count for about 60 per cent in both regions.

The good news is that, according to a representative from the National Obesity Forum, the figures will give local authorities a better chance of fighting obesity. What a total life-sapping disaster. We’ve got so many chronically overweight people in England that we need an official National Obesity Forum. Now, local authorities will have to sort out the mess when they could have prevented it in the first place. How? By ensuring that schools in their jurisdiction taught kids how to exercise and eat well in actually useful games lessons.

Ultimately people have to take responsibility for themselves but school PE lessons have to take their share of the blame. These lessons are a real chance to teach children to exercise. This chance is usually squandered. Instead, kids are forced to play sports they are uninterested in, and those who might enjoy it often have some bitter old teacher yelling in their face. Sure, some kids prefer traditional games, but those that don’t end up standing around on a freezing pitch. Yet another interminable game of rounders won’t teach you anything.

This is about more than fitting into skinny jeans. The obesity crisis will cost the country millions in healthcare. How many of these overweight people could be contributing to the country instead of eking out an unsatisfactory existence before dying young?

We’d be better off giving kids the option of interval training and Pilates classes, as well as netball and football “lessons”. Stuff the notion of PE giving kids a taste for competition. The only competition we’ve got now is who can die the fattest.

Louise Scodie is a presenter for London Live

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The first lesson of today is... don't treat women unequally?  

Yvette Cooper is right: The classroom is the best place to start teaching men about feminism

Chris Maume
Forty per cent of global trades in euros are cleared through London  

The success enjoyed by the City of London owes nothing to the EU

Nigel Farage
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial