The final 2008 presidential debate last night covered domestic affairs, and we were encouraged to see some discussion of what Americans can do to help their kids shape up. Amazingly, the candidates stopped their bickering long enough to agree that the answer, as we could have told you, is making sure everyone gets enough exercise.
Said Sen. John McCain during the debate:
"We should have physical fitness programs and nutrition programs in schools. Every parent should know what’s going on there. We need to have employers reward employees who join health clubs and practice wellness and fitness."
And Sen. Barack Obama voiced a similar proposal earlier this year while meeting with a group of doctors in Ohio:
"We used to eat junk, but we just didn’t have as much of it … In fact, my home state of Illinois – I’m pretty sure about this – is the only state in the country now that still requires phys ed for local school districts. Most of the schools have abandoned it because they’re underfunded and they’re worried about testing. Although ironically, it turns out kids perform better if they get phys ed, if they get some time to just work through all these issues."
It’s comforting that both candidates have a good working understanding of calories-in versus calories-out. No matter who is elected president next month, getting P.E. back in America’s schools has to be a priority. That plan makes so much more sense than singling out soda, slandering hot dogs, or banning birthday cake.
We’ve got to let kids be kids, and that means letting them enjoy snacks in moderation and run around a bit every day. Straight talk? Change? Whatever you call it, our children deserve common sense instead of a food-police diet.