Childhood obesity is becoming more prevalent in the western world as statistics show that in Australia, one quarter of children are either overweight or obese. (Australian Bureau of statistics)
Teachers have a role and opportunity to be an influence on students. They can train and develop good eating habits as well as encourage physical activity.
The age 2-6 will be the focus of preventing obesity. This is a fantastic age group to work with as they are at the age to start good habits in all areas of life.
Through this essay and backed by research, I will show how physical education is important for 2-6 years old. I will explain a way that teachers can play a role in preventing obesity. I will then finish off with three practical ways to assist in preventing obesity in this age group.
As previously stated, 2-6 years olds will be the focus. This is an amazing area of development as well as a lot of fun because children from experience are so eager to learn. (Mcdevitt, 2010, p20) states ‘this age is a period of incredible creativity, fantasy and play’.
Physically, 2-6 year olds are refining their gross and fine motor skills such as being able to catch a ball, skipping hopping and running (Mcdevitt, 2010, p24). This is important because their ability to refine their skills improves the more they practice and as they get older. An example of this is stated in (Berk, 2000, p177) ‘at the age of 2 and 3, they throw a ball rigidly, using only their arms but by the time they reach 4 and 5, they rotate the body and step forward as they throw it.
As children get older, they learn that the world isn’t all about them and they start to interact with their peers. According to (Mcdevitt & Ormorand, 2010, p24) this is called cognitive development which also includes some knowledge of colours, the alphabet and numbers.
Physical activity in this development will encourage children to enjoy what they are doing when seeing other children doing the same. They may not be scared to join in as they are now beginning to enjoy each other’s company. (McDevitt & Ormrod, p20)
Children in this age group also emerge socially. They are ‘more willing to share their toys and take turns’ (Mcdevitt, 2010, p24). This is a great development to have, especially towards physical activity because they are beginning realise the concept of working together and not getting as upset when it is someone else turn in a game they may be playing together.
Teachers have a key role in addressing and preventing obesity. An important key would be to be a role model ourselves. (Briley + Roberts-Gray, 2005: Jana + Shu2007) state that ‘modelling healthy eating to children can help develop healthy eating themselves’. A way we could do this would be taking a piece of fruit to school to eat every day and also watching us drink plenty of water.
Another way a teacher could prevent obesity is to encourage the parents to come on board with encouraging healthy eating and physical activity....