Opinion: College health education benefits everyone

The Sentinel

By: Robert Thomas

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“Health education is an essential component of general education for students, as well as a vital component in addressing America’s growing health problems.” Photo credit: Killian Grina

Health education is not only an essential component of general education for students at Kennesaw State but is also vital in addressing America’s growing health problems.

Outside of the benefits of positive health habits on the individual student level, there are numerous reasons to support the mandatory Foundations of Healthy Living, WELL 1000, course.

Alongside the physical benefits of habits taught in health classes, there is increasing evidence to suggest that the habits may also improve mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, research shows that exercise can help alleviate long-term depression and anxiety, and a 2017 study by the Minnesota Department of Health found that students who were physically fit were much more likely to score better on state standardized tests.

Additionally, considering the increased sexual activity of students, a quality sexual education, like that given in KSU health courses, is likely to be useful for students, especially among those coming from more sexually repressive households.

Julia Wagner, an apparel and textiles sophomore at KSU, said she feels that the goal setting and goal-oriented nature of the KSU health course is a very important thing for students to learn.

“In order to get anywhere in life, you gotta have goals for yourself,” Wagner said. “I think the class does a good job at teaching that.”

On the broader scale, however, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rates of childhood obesity have more than tripled since the 1970s. In light of this growing trend, proper health education is more important today than ever before. Studies have shown that parents are one of the main influences when it comes to shaping their children’s decisions in relation to healthy eating.

For many students, college may be their first introduction to healthier habits. If we ever hope to reverse the rising rates of obesity nationally, proper health and nutritional education is an important component of the fight.

Connor Crocco, a KSU business administration freshman, said that he supports required health classes because of their ability to benefit anyone regardless of their personal fitness level.

“The required health class is definitely beneficial, and I would definitely keep it just because of the benefits it gives people who need it most,” Crocco said. “But even if you are fit, you can still learn stuff. It teaches you a healthier lifestyle in general.”

The rising rate of obesity nationally impacts everyone due to the increased healthcare expenditures nationally. A 2018 study by Cornell University found that the percent of U.S. national medical expenditures devoted to treating obesity-related illness in adults has risen by 29 percent from 2001-2015.

By requiring students to take WELL 1000, KSU ensures students are prepared to take care of themselves and aid in battling national health problems.

 

Article originally published by The Sentinel