Seventeen percent of American children are considered to be overweight or obese. Of course, this statistic in and of itself is disturbing, but the manifestations of this fact are also quite mind-boggling. For example, there was recently an advertising campaign in Georgia that targeted these overweight children. Now, many schools are having to make big changes in their classrooms in order to make sure these students are comfortable.
In many schools across the nation, bigger and stronger chairs and desks are being put into classrooms for the overweight children to use because they cannot fit in normal-sized school desks. Even in schools where this is not an immediate problem, it probably will become one in the future, and because of this, furniture manufacturers are increasing the standards size of their school desks in order to accommodate the growing students.
Taylor LeBaron was an overweight child who dealer with ridicule from his classmates about his weight. When he had trouble getting out of his desk, the situation just got worse.
“I was so large, I couldn’t fit in there,” said LeBaron, who is now 19-years old. “I couldn’t get my legs to fit underneath the desk of my stomach to fit between the chair without getting the desk stuck with me.”
Some people are hopeful that this problem will not still be plaguing students in the future.
“If you want to learn well, you have to at least be comfortable,” said Dr. Richard Deckelbaum, director of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University. “I would hope that even if schools did buy [larger furniture], the [obesity] problem will go away in the next few years.”
Hopefully Deckelbaum is right. According to reports from New York City public schools, there have been fewer cases of obesity in children since the schools began implementing measures that they hope will stop the obesity epidemic in our country.
Some things that parents can do to help make sure their children will fit in normal-sized desks in to limit the amount of time children watch television or play videos, provide nutritious snacks, and encourage children to be physically active through sports or games.