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‘Give priority to PE lessons in the fight against obesity’

New Straits Times

Thursday, 28/04/2011

'Give priority to PE lessons in the fight against obesity'

KUALA LUMPUR: Physical education needs to be given greater attention in the fight against obesity among children, teachers say.

Former Terengganu Education Department physical education supervisor Zaini Mohd Nor said scant attention was given to physical education, although it was a compulsory subject taught in schools.

"Compared to other subjects, physical education isn't treated as a priority. As a result, the students have lost focus on the importance of exercise," Zaini, also a former physical education teacher, said.

She said obesity was the result of a lack of attention and guidance in healthy eating habits and lifestyles of the students.

"If they have not been taught the importance of exercising and maintaining a balanced diet, how can they be expected to practise it at home?"

Physical education teacher Suriati Mat Dam, 50, said more specialist teachers were needed to ensure that students received the right education in leading an active lifestyle.

"Teachers themselves need to be well-informed and educated so as to pique the students' interest.

"For example, using music or other educational tools can help to make physical education a more fun and interesting subject for the students," she said.

Suriati, who was awarded the "Excellent Teacher" in physical education by the Education Ministry, said the school administration needed to restrict physical education teachers from teaching multiple subjects.

"Some teachers may be reluctant to go the extra-mile such as changing into proper attire between teaching periods, which makes them less effective to teach sports or exercising."

She also said schools needed to avoid taking time away from physical education to concentrate on other critical subjects, especially near examination periods.

"At some schools, the time used for physical education is 'sacrificed' for examination subjects. This should be curbed to ensure that the students still have the opportunity to exercise."


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