How to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity? | Edutopia
Facebook
Edutopia on Facebook
Twitter
Edutopia on Twitter
Google+
Edutopia on Google+
Pinterest
Edutopia on Pinterest Follow Me on Pinterest
WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

How to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity?

How to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity?

Related Tags: Community Bulletin Board
More Related Discussions
11 1597 Views
Readers of Edutopia.org will remember a feature we used to produce called Sage Advice. In it, we asked the Edutopia community to share their thoughts on a number of issues. This week, we're discussing childhood obesity. I'll include some thoughts that have come in from Edutopia community members in the past.
Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Share

Comments (11)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Director of Programming and Innovation

One of the most telling stories I have heard came in a fourth-grade discussion of the appropriateness of vending machines in elementary schools. A student said that her neighbor drove her kids to school each day, stopping at the convenience store to buy them candies and pastries for breakfast. The mother felt she could not afford regular food most of the time, so she was treating the kids to the candy breakfast. The candy breakfast increased the mom's self-esteem as a provider. Did her children gain weight? Yeah. They did.

Terry Blakely
Teacher
Knoxville, Tennessee

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Director of Programming and Innovation

Exercise should be something that kids do because they are having fun and not because it is part of the school curriculum. Think about skaters, those kids that you see in the parking lots doing tricks on their skateboards. They are really fit and healthy and they stay in shape. They don't like gyms and they despise diets because they think they are shallow. (I know about this because I used to be one of those kids.) They just stay fit because they are having fun with their friends, and health is just a by-product of fun.
Alberto Botero
CEO
The MindfulGroup
New York, New York

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Director of Programming and Innovation

Create the mind-set that good health comes in many shapes and forms, as do beauty and athletic ability. A few ideas for parents: act out a story as you read it; have a five-minute pillow fight and let the kids win; exercise as a family; play Twister, Simon Says, Mother May I?, or Red Light, Green Light; find safe places to take a walk; find hobbies that would mean watching 15-30 minutes less television each day, such as drawing, reading, playing board games, playing with blocks, telling stories from your childhood, and looking at photographs of the children growing up.
Seledia Shephard Bailey
Parent volunteer
Washington, D.C.

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Director of Programming and Innovation

Three words:

Unplug

the

TV.

Ross Wetherhorn
Advocate of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights
Anchorage, Alaska

Cindy Spenner's picture

As an educator I am concerned about how many of our kids are overweight, yet, I don't believe that it is the job of the school to fix it. Kids don't get fat at school. They are active at school. It is when they get home that the problem starts. I think the way to address this problem is by helping parents become parents again. Tell parents that it is okay to say no, help them to know what healthy, delicious food options are available, help them to reclaim their families by cutting down on all of the afterschool activities that have them driving through McDonalds. Teach them to destress their lives so that they don't have to feel guilty about their parenting and buy their kids' affection with happy meals and Dairy Queen.

Valerie Derrick's picture

When we focus on educating the whole child instead of just the academic child, we naturally and automatically include opportunities for movement and exercise as an integral part of the school day because we know it also helps students to focus and learn as well as to keep their bodies healthy.  As our education system has become so obsessively focused on test results and high stakes testing, less and less time has been given to students for recess and even physical education.  In addition, the growing amount of homework children have while still in elementary school takes away their play time after school when they might go out and play or go bike riding.  Television watching, computer use and electronic game playing all factor in as well, but I really believe by taking away so many of children's opportunities for play and exercise, we have contributed to their increased obesity.  It's not just about the food they eat.

Amy's picture
Amy
5th grade teacher

Don't take away recess for tutoring!!!

chenchen21621's picture

They are active at school. It is when they get home that the problem starts. I think the way to address this problem is by helping parents become parents again.
Tell parents that it is okay to say no, help them to know what healthy, delicious food options are available, help them to reclaim their families by cutting down on all of the afterschool activities that have them driving through McDonalds.
Teach them to destress their lives so that they don't have to feel guilty about their parenting and buy their kids' affection with happy meals and Dairy Queen.

Audrey B's picture
Audrey B
High School English teacher Cromwell CT

I agree that high stakes testing is dampening schools ability and desire to provide needed activity time for students. Additionally, schools that are most at risk to lose funding based on test scores tend to have additional dietary problems from poverty.
However, food choices are not always based on parents giving in or not enough time. It is costly to have a heatlthy diet. Milk costs more than those red sugar water drinks in the gallon jugs. Veggies are very expensive. Also, many cities are food deserts with few grocery stores availible for the residents. Having recently lived in Hartford, CT, a rather small city, I saw this problem first hand. From my neighborhood you had to go to another town for the closest grocery store. Without a car it is fairly impossible to do weekly or even daily shopping for the healthiest food. Many of these kids are obese, but in a strange way they are also starving.
We must not forget that parents are doing what they can for the health of thier child. It is not necessarily a lack of information that creates dietary health problems

Sign in to comment. Not a member? Register.