A Case that Nutrition and Fitness Should Be a Gen Ed Requirement

There is an incredible amount of misinformation recklessly thrown around concerning health, fitness, and nutrition. Some of it is annoyingly wrong but innocuous, and some of it verges on dangerous. The internet has opened up a treasure trove of information about healthy nutrition and the positive effects of physical activity. But it has also opened up a pathway for BroScience to reach the masses (for those of you unfamiliar with the term BroScience is when the testimony of some ripped bodybuilder is viewed as more credible than actual science), then get misconstrued and regurgitated elsewhere creating a downward spiral of BS. All this resulting in a wasteland of misinformation about how calories don’t really matter as long as you follow a keto ( juicing, paleo, atkins, low fat,  or whatever other diet Dr. Oz is talking about), and how supplements and preworkouts are required to gain muscle fast, get shredded, and be as appealing to your crush as possible; or how you can get a sixpack just by focusing on your abs; i.e. do more crunches and planks; or about how girls will look like Arnold if they so much as touch a dumbbell; oh and don’t do cardio because it’s not actually that good for your heart, and you’ll lose muscle mass and strength and become ugly… blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

With all this misinformation out there. I think that schools (Secondary and Higher Ed) should play a larger role in education the people about how your body works, what it needs, what you can do to help it get stronger/stay strong etc. For a any number of reasons.

The first reason I want to address is I think higher education has a duty to produce well rounded people, (I know that some may disagree with that point) and knowing how to keep yourself healthy and take care of your body is an important part of being a well rounded person.

The second reason being that your physical health can greatly affect your mental, social, and academic health. There are quite a few studies proving that physical activity improves cognitive functions, and academic performance. There are even more studies that deal with the effectiveness of physical activity and healthy eating habits on being a part of mental health treatments.

The third  is quality of life! I think this is pretty self-explanatory. Being sedentary is bad for you, and makes life harder.

The last point I want to bring up is government funded healthcare. I’m not here to argue about whether it’s good or bad, but it seems to be the way we are heading. And if we are heading that way, and our taxes will be paying the medical bills of other people, I want those other people to know how to take care of themselves. I know things happen that are way out of the control of the individual, and I know sometimes exercise or sports put people in the hospital. But overall the preventative health benefits outweigh the potential risks of an uninformed, sedentary, population consuming a poor diet.

Living a healthy lifestyle starts with knowing what a healthy lifestyle looks like, and rather than weeding through the BroScience wasteland Higher Education can provide us with a model.

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