The Ministry of Health has officially requested that the Ministry of National Education add one hour of physical education to the new school curriculum in order to combat obesity. The Board of Education has since rewritten the curriculum for elementary and middle schools to include an hour daily for physical education.
According to the new curriculum 1-4 graders will be required to take a "Games and Physical Activity" course. First to third graders will take five hours of this course weekly, while fourth graders will take the course for two hours a week. Fifth to eighth graders will be given a Physical Education and Sports class for two hours a week. In addition, middle school students will be able to select the Sports and Physical Activity course for two to four hours a week as an elective in the "Arts and Sports" category.
The Ministry of Health sent an official written notice to the Ministry of National Education, reminding of the Prime Ministry Struggle Against Obesity Memorandum, requesting strategies be developed in order to increase physical activity in all education levels, spanning for preschool, elementary school, middle school and university levels.
AS IMPORTANT AS ARITHMETIC
Turkey's Public Health Association Chairman Mustafa Öztürk points out that obesity prevention should begin during childhood and stated that sports is at least as important for students as arithmetic. Noting that the global threat for new generations is obesity and obesity-related illnesses, Öztürk states, "We have officially relayed a request to the Ministry of National Education to renew the 4+4+4 educational curriculum based on including physical activity. They accepted and therefore now, elementary students will exercise one hour a day in school."
Öztürk also stated that the World Health Organization states that it is important for the 5-17 age group to exercise for 60 minutes a day in order to prevent the risk of cardio-vascular illnesses, diabetes, obesity prevention, muscular-skeleton system problems, anxiety and depression.
YARDS NEED TO BE SOIL
Öztürk went on to explain that they also requested the Ministry of National Education make sure all school playgrounds are covered in soil and to plant trees in order to ensure that school yards are no longer used as parking lots and to minimize accidents and children getting hurt. "Never mind these kids not having space to jump rope or play ball; there is a risk of traffic accidents. We have requested that school yards be made conducive to physical activity and for the number of gyms to be increased. These kids can be successful in their exams if they study. However, if they are active and study then these kids will be successful in life," stated Öztürk.