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The Daily Tar Heel

LFIT helpful? Fat chance.

Teaching lifetime ?tness classes at UNC not necessary

UNC’s lifetime fitness requirement is an unnecessary component of a liberal arts degree.

Lifetime fitness courses were created in 2006 as a replacement for the swimming test graduation requirement.

The online lecture part of the class teaches students the tenets of a healthy lifestyle. The activity section provides a structured environment for physical exertion — from walking to weightlifting.

But this one-credit course adds little value to a UNC degree. Healthy eating habits, while important, do not supplement a political science or history degree.

UNC’s goal should be to thoroughly educate students in their desired fields of study; the lifetime fitness requirement is little more than a nagging burden that occasionally creates a scheduling conflict.

Granted, leading a healthy lifestyle is important, and exercising several times a week is certainly good practice.

But it is not a necessary tenet of a liberal arts education, especially since the N.C. Board of Education requires all students to take a health class before high school graduation.

Bobbi Owen, senior associate dean for undergraduate education, attributed the development of UNC’s lifetime fitness requirement to a disturbing increase in obesity levels. She pointed to this generation’s stereotype as “watchers, not doers” as an indication of the necessity for such a requirement.

But it’s simply not the University’s prerogative to be part of the health police.

Duke University has a more sensible alternative. It has physical education classes as half-credit electives, without the health requirement.

UNC officials will begin a thorough review of the new curriculum in fall 2010. Adjustments will be made hopefully to the lifetime fitness course or it will be stricken from graduation requirements altogether.

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