Dear Future President,
I’d like to discuss with you an important issue: a healthier public school system including healthier lunches, a later start time, and more exercise opportunities. I can relate to this issue as can many other young Americans who find it frustrating that their school doesn’t offer healthier option in school. At my school in Massachusetts, there are many after-school and before-school opportunities for additional exercise such as running clubs or enrichment programs. While these choices are preferable to no opportunities at all, the important thing is that kids have the healthier changes made during school hours. Although this issue isn’t as big as something like global warming or women’s rights, I hope you’ll give me a chance to ask you to change the school experience for young Americans today. Why should you care? You are raising the next generation of Americans! One of the students in America’s schools today could become the next president. You should want to raise America’s next generation right.
The first step to healthier schools are having healthier lunches. As said by the New York Times, “Since 1980 obesity rates have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Obesity rates in young Americans have grown in the past thirty years; an astonishing rate. It is important that we try to stop this number from growing . You may say that healthy lunches could be more expensive, however I think that when it comes down to investing in a renovation or paying for healthy lunches, a child’s health should be valued over fancier classrooms.
The second step is a later start time. According to Britannica, many young adults aren’t getting the amount of sleep necessary for themselves to function the next day, “Adolescents between ages 14 and 17 need at least 8.5 hours of sleep per night, while young adults (age 18 to 25) need at least 7 hours. Most individuals in those age groups, however, sleep fewer than 7 hours.” Students don’t get enough sleep as is, so why are we forcing them to wake up early in order to get ready for school on time? I strongly believe all high schools and middle schools across America should be required to have a 9:00 AM start time. This way, students can prepare for their day in a healthier way, as oppose to getting up and ready for school at drastic times, as early as 7:30 AM in some parts of the country. With all of the homework and activities the average adolescent does, there is not enough time for them to get the healthy amount of sleep.
The last step you can lead us through, is more exercise opportunities during school. PBS says that people who do more physical activity consistently, will grow a larger hippocampus. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that controls your memory. So, if there were more physical education opportunities during school, over time the students’ hippocampuses would grow, therefore improving their memory, and helping them succeed on tests.
It is very important that the next president enforces public school systems to have a healthier lunch, a later start time, and more in-school physical education opportunities. I hope you will choose to look into these opportunities and raise America’s next generation right.
--- Sarah Schlosberg