STUDENT LIFE - ROUND 2

Hey guys!

This is my second round for my second cycle of this year. For those of you who don't know, my question this time is...

How can a student lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle? 

As a reminder, I will be splitting each round into two segments: the first will relate to the average Canadian student and the second, the average Kenyan student. For this round, I will be looking into physical health.

So let's get started!

Canada:

Exercise:

Health Canada's physical activity guidelines state that children considered "school-aged" should get at least 90 minutes of exercise every day. However, it is reported that only 12% of Canadian children are meeting this level. Additionally, it has been discovered that age groups that consist of older children and youth usually get less physical activity compared to those that are younger. (1)(2)

What the majority of my sources said is that exercise has been proven to strengthen cognitive skills; accordingly, students see an improvement in their academics - and they see it fast. 

But, before I continue with more research, let's take a look at my survey. 

44.4% of Canadian Butterfly Effect students stated that they believe school impacts their physical health negatively.

22.2% of Canadian Butterfly Effect students stated that they do not believe that school impacts their physical health negatively.

33.3% of Canadian Butterfly Effect students stated that they are unsure if school impacts their physical health negatively.

Something to keep in mind is that at my school (Charles Best), physical education is only mandatory until the 10th grade. So, this year, I had no classes that entailed any physical education which is why I can understand why some students may feel like school is affecting their health. On the other hand, those who have organized sports/activities or have taken a physical education class may not feel the effects of school on their physical health. (3)

Nevertheless, obesity is still a big problem in Canada with one-third of teenagers being considered obese. But, exercise isn't only the only determining factor of a healthy lifestyle. (1)

Food:

Because our bodies are developing rapidly at this age, the fuel we give ourselves is crucial. A study by Health Canada in 2012 reports that "3 in 10 adolescents have energy intakes that exceed their energy needs." So, how can we ensure that we are making healthy choices when it comes to our diet? First off, having three meals a day along with some snacks is very important. When you skip a meal, you are missing out on necessary minerals and vitamins which can, in turn, make it very hard to concentrate and leave you with a lack of energy. (4)

Canada's Food Guide was actually modified this year. So, instead of giving you specific serving numbers and food groups, the new guide focuses on helping you implement healthy food choices in your every day lives. (5)(6)

Kenya:

Exercise: 

According to Kenya’s 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity and Body Weight of Children and Youth, Kenyan children who live in more rural areas are more physically active compared to those who live in urban. A study in urban Kenya found that "the mean daily time spent in light physical activity was 463 minutes; mean daily time spent in moderate physical activity was 32 minutes; and mean daily time spent in vigorous physical activity was only 4 minutes." In fact, only 12.8% of children who participated met the recommendation of 60 minutes or more of daily activity. (7)

Before I explain the information kindly given to me by some Kenyan students, let's take a look at the survey. 

0% of Canadian Butterfly Effect students stated that they believe school impacts their physical health negatively.

66.7% of Canadian Butterfly Effect students stated that they do not believe that school impacts their physical health negatively.

33.3% of Canadian Butterfly Effect students stated that they are unsure if school impacts their physical health negatively. (3)

This week, I had the help of @Dorcas Akinyi (Sweetwaters). Thank you so much, Dorcas for helping me with my research about school life in Kenya!  

Here is what she told me: At her school, students have exercise classes once per week; however, it is not mandatory. If you choose not to take an exercise class, you would spend that time studying. Also, everyone is free to participate in any sports activities.

I'm also in contact with a few other Kenyan students, so when they get back to me, I will update this post.

Food:

Dorcas's school provides adequate food for each student and she says that it is healthy; however, compared to what she eats at home, it is not as healthy. 

Kenya's food guide is currently under development; however, they have released some tips for healthy eating.

Here they are:

  1. " Eat a variety of foods from different food groups every day. Include whole or unprocessed starchy foods as part of meals.
  2. Eat plenty of green leafy vegetables, red and yellow vegetables and fruits every day; and include a variety of other vegetables and fruit.
  3. Eat beans, peas, lentils, cowpeas, pigeon peas, soya, nuts and edible seeds regularly (at least four times a week).
  4. Eat lean meat, fish and seafood, poultry, insects or eggs at least twice a week.
  5. Drink fresh milk, fermented milk or yogurt every day.
  6. Use oil or fat in moderation in meals; limit the amount of solid fat. Use fortified oil.
  7. If you use sugar, use it sparingly.
  8. Use iodized salt, but use it sparingly.
  9. Drink plenty of safe water." (8)

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to give any feedback in the comments! 

Sources:

1. https://runningmagazine.ca/hea...ing-enough-exercise/

2. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/...B8D64B272509B0746EE9

3. https://www.pa-mojabutterfly.c...ys/school-and-health

4. https://www.thewomens.org.au/h...tion-for-adolescents 

5. https://globalnews.ca/news/487...ada-food-guide-2019/

6. https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/ 

7. https://www.activehealthykids....d-long-form-2016.pdf

8. http://www.fao.org/nutrition/e.../countries/kenya/en/ 

Original Post

Hello Heeva,

I enjoyed seeing your use of the survey, as well as the fact that you talked to people from Kenya to get information. The use of statistics was also quite useful in actually visualizing what you were trying to say, I wonder as to how the differences between them matter. For example, the ways the food guide’s are different, between the two, what does this imply for the students in either of the countries. I otherwise do enjoy though also how you split the sections and highlighted the titles as it really helped with navigating through them. I found it interesting though that 3 out of 10 adolescents take in more energy then they need which seems quite low but it matches up with the fact that 1 in 3 are obese. Which is simply quite astounding. It was quite interesting to read about the differences in food and exercise and just what they mean. I look forward to reading your next post!

Hopefully, these websites may be of some use to you:
https://www.cbd.edu/2018/02/20...school-life-balance/
https://3blmedia.com/News/Mana...life-Balance-Matters
http://jhsap.org/self_help_res...e_balance/index.html

Hi Heeva! 

I found your research round very intriguing and informative.  I like how you wrote it in a way that made it easy to understand and how well formatted it.  Honestly, I found the results you got from your survey very interesting.  It just goes to show how different things can be around the world. I think a part of the reason why school negatively impacts us physically is because well, we simply don't have that much time leftover after all the homework and studying we have to do for school. As you said, at Charles Best, PE is optional after grade 10; probably because there are more important classes we need to take for university.  I actually enjoyed PE in grade 9 and 10, and if I had enough electives I would take it again, but since there are more important classes I need to take for universities, I just don't have enough room.  Maybe in your next research round you could look into ways students could in cooperate the physical activity requirements while still balancing school. Here's some websites to help you out:

https://www.collegexpress.com/...ties-students-speak/

https://breakingmuscle.com/fit...nce-school-and-sport

Hope this helps!

Hi Heeva,

Great research round! I really like how organized it is and how easy it is to compare the aspects demonstrated of both Canadian and Kenyan students. I found it really interesting how many students at Dr. Charles Best stated that school impacts their physical health negatively. This is because, in your last research round, I recall people stating that they would spend 3-4 or even 5-6 hours doing homework every single day. Evidently, with this amount of schoolwork, there is no time to engage in any physical activity or to obtain much social interaction or spare time. Because of this, physical health begins to deteriorate, as academics become the main focus and begin to take up all your time. However, it is surprising that only a small percentage of children nowadays can achieve this guideline of exercise of 90 minutes a day, as their school is shorter and they are not expected to have so many assignments. Unfortunately, electronics and technology do play a role on this behaviour, as it distracts the children from going outside and getting physical activity. A lack of physical activity is also detrimental to academic performance, as you mentioned in your research, and it's this disruption in the balance that can become consequential. This imbalance is a topic that could be interesting to look into further, how a lack of one thing leads to poor performance and vice versa. Here are some links that go into this more:

https://blog.schoolspecialty.c...cademic-performance/

https://www.edcan.ca/articles/...ll-academic-success/

Hope this helps!

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