As little Johnny stands in front of the refrigerator, he is faced with a tough decision. He must decide between the shiny, red apple and the pudding cup with his name written all over it. Johnny reaches for the pudding cup without any hesitation and heads straight for the living room to watch some television while the sun continues to shine bright on a beautiful, spring afternoon. What is wrong with this picture? Clearly little Johnny needs to reevaluate his snack choice and how to spend his afternoon. As time goes on, children that are not nutritionally educated and physically motivated will continue to head down the path to one of the biggest epidemics America is facing today: Childhood obesity.
Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years (Center for Disease). What this skyrocketing statistic boils down to is the lack of proper education from parents and schools about diet and exercise. If a child’s parents are sitting in their recliner eating Cheetos, naturally, their child will catch on and begin to do the same thing. However, if someone is fortunate enough to have a parent who encourages physical activities and provides healthy meals early on, the child is less likely to become a victim of childhood obesity. There are many ways that this disheartening trend can be solved for children that have yet to become obese, or have already fallen under the obese category.
For normal and obese children alike, schools play an exceptionally critical role by instituting a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also provide chances for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activities. By providing proper education from certified dieticians, students will be able to know what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle.
On the same note, teachers can pitch in with the healthy lifestyle education by extending recess times or by taking the class outside on their own time at elementary schools. During recess, the supervisor can organize fun, physical group activities that get all of the kids involved. Teachers can also provide healthy snacks for their students every now and then to give them a little energy boost throughout the day. Considering that school lunches usually take place particularly early in the day, these snacks would help students focus on the task at hand rather than their rumbling stomach.
Limiting the amount of bake sales at schools has also become a topic of discussion when it comes to cracking down on childhood obesity. Amanda Collier notes that New York's public schools are creating rules that will limit school bake sales, instead encouraging parent teacher associations and other fundraising groups to sell only fresh fruit and pre-packaged snack foods, including Pop-Tarts, Doritos, and baked potato chips. Homemade baked goods, however, will be off-limits except...