Childhood Obesity Suzette Wright Instructor Nicole Yurchak English Composition July 16, 2012
Preventing Childhood Obesity Page 2
Childhood obesity is not a new subject by any means; it has been in the spot light for a while now. It is a common knowledge that childhood obesity has been on the rise for many years now, and it is time to do something about it. Children spend a big portion of their day at school and schools need to do their part in preventing childhood obesity. If the children are not going to learn healthy habits at home, then schools and teachers need to show them how to be healthy and maintain a healthy weight. Teachers also need to know how to prevent children who are obese from being bullied so the child does not feel pressured to be a certain weight. Childhood obesity is an epidemic that can be stopped if teachers and schools help children at a young age to learn to be healthy and make good eating choices. The meals that schools provide need to be improved in order to help the children begin eating healthy. Children may not be getting healthy foods at home, so it should be the job of schools to offer healthy food for children. Since children spend most of their time at school, and consume a large portion of the meals at schools healthy foods should be offered. “Currently, the federal reimbursement rate is $2.72 per lunch; in addition, all districts receive 19.5 cents more per child if they buy commodities foods. Most schools spend less than $1 on food per child per day, with the rest of the money being spent for staffing and organizational costs” (Cooper 2011). If schools would just spend .50 cents more on lunches for children there could be healthier foods on children’s trays. Schools should have more fruits and vegetables and less junk food like chicken nuggets that should not be counted as a good meal, real chicken breast baked would be
Preventing Childhood Obesity Page 3 much healthier (Copper 2011). The calorie count has been dropped for school lunches the “range is 350 to 500 for elementary students, 400 to 550 for middle schoolers, and 450 to 600 for high schoolers” (Shah 2011). There are also many other changes coming to the trays children will be getting. They will be getting more whole grain bread and low fat milk. This means that crust for the pizza will be whole grain as well as the breading on chicken nuggets and fish sticks. Some schools are already starting to transition towards healthy foods. These schools are using vegetables and fruits that are grown in their area to help cut down on the cost of all the healthy food. The children at these schools are starting to get use to the idea of the different fruits and vegetables. It may take several times for the child to try the vegetable or fruit, but once they do, it opens their eyes to a new way of eating. One school in Sioux Falls is now serving bake Choy and watercress in their lunches. This school is using what is available to them in their area; schools should be making more of an effort to use fruits and vegetables that are grown in their area. This will be good for the local farmer’s and help the local economy. If a child finds a new vegetable or fruit they like they will know where to get it, if it is from a local grower or farmer (Shah 2011).
Physical education has always been a part of the school curriculum. Now, with childhood obesity in the spotlight, physical education teachers are getting more attention. There are some stunning facts about how sedentary children have become even when they have the chance to move around outside and inside they choose to sit and play video games or something along those lines. “Young children spend