Overweight children may enjoy running around when they are at home, but as soon as they get to school and have to participate in physical education lessons it is a different matter. They have to get changed in front of their thin friends, and no matter how much they try to hide their size they are embarrassed and self-conscious of it; this is before the lesson has even started. When the lesson gets underway they then have to deal with not being able to keep up with everyone else, breathing heavily and sweating more, which is not exactly a good feeling. They might be teased for their appearance which only adds to their embarrassment, discomfort and dislike of physical education.
Some children are just lazy to begin with, having never received encouragement from their parents to do exercise. Indeed, there is a good chance their parents are also overweight and never do any exercise, which means these children don’t exactly have healthy role models to follow, and if their parents are negative about exercise, their children will pick up on this.
Overweight children obviously have more weight to carry than those who are a healthy weight, which is going to make exercise even more difficult for them. They may well be self-conscious of the fact they are having more difficulty breathing than their friends and that they are sweating profusely after only a few minutes of exercise. They don’t want to stand out from their peers, but during physical education lessons they are unable to disguise the fact that they are overweight and incredibly unfit.
Consequently, they will probably prefer lessons which don’t involve any physical exertion, as at least then they don’t have to worry about their t-shirt riding up and everyone seeing their stomach. They can hide their stomach when they sit behind a desk and it is easier to ignore negative comments about their weight.
If children develop a bad impression of physical education when they are at school, which they usually do due to a lack of support and encouragement from teachers as well as the fact they are always picked last for team sports and made fun of, they may carry this negative attitude towards exercise into adulthood. This means they might be less inclined to do any form of exercise whatsoever, which doesn’t bode well for their ability to manage their weight or stay healthy. Exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, but often gets ignored.
If overweight children are going to become happy, healthy adults, it certainly helps if they develop a positive attitude towards exercise, which can be challenging if their only experience of physical education was a bad one.