Educators and Childhood Obesity
Obesity in childhood is rising to epidemic proportions in America and educators should be concerned. The statistics of obesity in children are alarming. Using the 95 percentile and higher of body mass, the following statistics have been gathered:
Statistics for children ages 6 to 11 are as follows:
Statistics for children ages 12 to 19 are as follows:
In the last twenty years the rate of obese children between the ages of 6 and 19 has more than doubled. These statistics predict a bleak future. Children who are obese have a 70 percent chance of continuing this trend into adulthood. This leads to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and a wide range of other health problems that reduce life expectancy.
Children who are obese have low self-esteem, suffer from depression and are often bullied or teased. They have lower grades than children who are within the ideal weight range.
What is Obesity?
Obesity occurs when a child is 30 percent over his ideal body weight. This occurs because the child consumes more calories that his body burns. Obesity is directly related to the following factors:
Lack of physical activity at school has an impact on childhood obesity. Many schools have eliminated physical education from their curriculum because of financial cutbacks and the push for higher test scores. Research has proven that lack of physical activity has a profound negative effect on a child's ability to learn. Therefore, educators must make physical education a top priority.
Schools and Nutrition
Many schools rely on the proceeds from candy and soft drink machines for much-needed funds. This is detrimental to the health of our children. In recent years, parents and health professionals have shoved to have these machines removed from school and many educational facilities have cooperated. This decreases student access to high calorie foods while they are at school.
School cafeterias add to the problem of childhood obesity. In many cafeterias students have access to hamburgers, French fries, potato chips, rich desserts and chocolate bars and other sweets. Educators and parents must band together to stop this practice and force cafeterias to promote good nutrition and well-balanced meals that include lots of fruits and vegetables.
Promoting a Healthy Diet
Educators can promote a healthy diet and lifestyle in students by using the following criteria:
Helping Overweight Students
There are a few ways that educators can promote parent cooperation:
Keeping Kids Active
Educators must realize it is their job to teach their students how to lead a healthy lifestyle and the importance of a daily exercise regime. If your school doesn't have a physical education program, step up to the plate and help students stay active. When students are physically active, they have a higher ability to learn, which in turn ensures that their future will be brighter.