January 2003
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The Tubby-Tummy Trend
By Ronan H., MacDonald Cartier High, St. Hubert, PQ

Traditionally and until quite recently, the lunch hour was viewed as a time to go outside and get some fresh air, away from the classroom. The computer lab's sole occupants were panicked students with overdue projects. But recent years have seen a remarkable increase in the amount of students going to spend their lunch hour in the computer labs. Indeed, there are lineups for adolescents waiting for the lab to be opened. One would think it was simply a whole bunch of anxious kids not wanting to lose marks. However, you have only to enter the lab and glance at the screens to see otherwise.

The lab these days is packed with students eager to play music and games on the computers. Some have even brought in their own games on CDs from home to install on the computers that they can play for the entire period. Seemingly unaware of the outside world, they click and type for the duration of the lunch hour, some even ignoring their lunch, to be eventually consumed on the bus home or between classes. Not that it matters much, as the average overall physical condition of the students is appalling. In previous years, there was no such problem, because, since there was nothing to do inside, they would naturally drift outside to play soccer, football, basketball, or any other sport, and in the process, burn off excess calories. Today, they rely on baggy clothes and quick metabolisms to keep them looking presentable.

Unfortunately, this does not only occur in schools. You have only to walk down the street to find an obese person. Political correctness demands that we not draw attention to it, as it is possibly a medical condition. Experts, however, blame the tubby-tummy trend on greasy fast-food restaurants and lack of physical activity. Once again, though, people attempt the easy way out, often opting for a diet of pills and water instead of regular exercise and healthy eating habits to rectify the situation.

Now, the school boards are cutting back on physical education to 2 days per every 6-day cycle, hoping to eventually eliminate it. Physical education standards are becoming increasingly lax, often allowing extremely out of shape students a decent grade for "effort". Although they are trying, "effort" isn't going to prevent a heart attack or diabetes later in life.

So, next time you prepare to plop down in front of the computer or television, do yourself a favour and turn off the computer or TV, get out your bike, and go get some fresh air and exercise with your friends, passing by the burger joints. A few moments of pleasure each day isn't worth a lifetime of obesity.

Originally published in the MacDonald Cartier High Student Voice Magazine


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