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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Now is not the time to cut physical ed

One in four Hawai'i schoolgoers is obese. And in a majority of cases, you can blame poor diet and lack of exercise rather than a medical condition.

So we're somewhat dismayed that a state Department of Education committee is looking into reducing the already paltry high school physical education requirement from one year to one semester.

How, pray, do our young people develop physical and mental stamina and a love of athletics when academics and other extras virtually gobble up every hour of the school day? Give them a break.

DOE spokesman Greg Knudsen says the problem is, how do you fit everything in? The answer is, you don't. You have to set priorities and strive for balance.

We're worried about the ones who — soon as the school bell rings — head for a fast-food restaurant and then home to watch TV or play computer games. Surely the DOE can make room for an hour of required sports or dance three or four times a week at all grade levels to help lower Hawai'i's alarming youth obesity rate.