By Ken Reed

Last week I wrote about a new study that concluded that exercise is more important than diet for maintaining weight loss.

I received some feedback saying I placed too much emphasis on exercise and not enough on a healthy diet; if the goal is not only maintaining weight loss, but overall wellness.

Well, a couple days ago, I came across another new study. This one found that bad diets kill more people than smoking. The study determined that poor diets kill 11 million people around the world annually. The study concluded that human beings not only eat too much sodium, sugar and fat, but also not enough nuts, seeds, milk and whole grains.

The key takeaway from these two studies is that both exercise and a healthy diet are needed to reach and maintain an optimal level of wellness.

At League of Fans, we are especially interested in the health of school-age children in the United States. With the growing influence of social media and video games, K-12 students are becoming increasingly sedentary.

While there have been numerous nationwide initiatives designed to make school cafeteria food healthier, and to increase the number of healthy alternatives in school vending machines, there has been a lot less done to get kids more physically active in schools. In fact, the opposite is happening. Educators are creating more “seat time” and less “movement time.” Elementary schools are being built without gyms, physical education class time is dropping significantly, and intramural sports programs are being cut. The result? The most sedentary generation this country has ever seen.

This is especially troublesome for our nation’s school system because a multitude of studies have shown fit kids are not only healthier but they perform better on academic tests and have fewer behavioral and emotional problems.

Yes, we all need to eat better, including K-12 students. And we all need to move our bodies a lot more during the day — especially our kids, who are too often chained to their desks in school.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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