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Link Between Excessive Homework, Exams and Childhood Obesity

By Kayla Menkes

The increasing amount of homework that teachers are giving students is alarming in today’s society. Unfortunately, the increase in childhood obesity is just as relevant and shocking. According to the Huffington Post, high school students spend an average of 4.9 hours per night on homework and studying. With most students having athletics, clubs, or other commitments to attend after they complete the school day, they are left with little time to complete their homework, but it must be done. Since students are so focused on completing their hours of homework and projects, there is little thought about physical activity.

On average, a teenager should get at least 60 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. After interviewing 17 HSE students about their daily activities, approximately 53% exercise less than 5 times a week and about 47% get less than 60 minutes of physical activity per day. 94% of the students surveyed said that they would get at least 30 more minutes of exercise in each day if the homework load was not as high. This limited amount of physical activity is one of the leading causes of childhood obesity. Childhood obesity is a disease in which a child is severely overweight. This disease can result in poor self-esteem, diabetes, or heart disease. Childhood obesity is increasing at an alarming rate, and something needs to be done to ensure the health of future generations. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012, 18% of children were considered obese, and this number continues to grow.

Lack of physical activity, poor eating habits, and genetics are all causes for this terrible disease, but two of the three can be easily combatted on a daily basis if only time was on our side. The large amount of homework is keeping students from exercising regularly, which then leads to higher rates of childhood obesity. Teachers need to be more aware that their students are becoming too absorbed in the work they are given resulting in an inability to live their healthiest lives. We all have control over what we eat and how much we exercise; we just need to find the time to give our health the attention it deserves.

Photo by Rachel Schier