childhood obesity

childhood obesity

Schools Must Buy Larger Desks to Accommodate Larger Students

class room with desksSeventeen 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.

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Elementary Students Need Physical Education, Even if the School’s Budget Doesn’t Cover It

elementary school gym classJessica Mazeau teaches physical education at Clifford School in Redwood City, California, five days a week. Her students are in kindergarten through fifth grade and a typical class includes activities such as keep-away with basketballs, hula hooping, and jumping rope. However, Mazeau does not work for the school or for the school district, nor is she a volunteer. Instead, she works for a private company, Rhythm and Moves, which was hired by the school’s parent-teacher organization, to provide physical education and activities for the students after the school’s budget cuts required it to eliminate its programs for students in all grades, except sixth through eighth.

“Clearly, if we don’t fund it the kids are not getting any active outside, except for minimum recess time and lunch time,” said Marilyn Ezrin, co-president of the Clifford School Parent-Teacher Organization.

Along with music education, physical education is becoming a luxury that schools simply cannot afford due to budget cuts and a hurting economy. However, with state requirements in California mandating that students receive 200 minutes of PE classes every 10 days, the responsibility to fulfill this requirement has fallen on classroom teachers.

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New School Breakfast Program Feeds Kids, but Provides Only Junk Food

For a long time, we have known that eating breakfast before school is a very good thing for students. Eating breakfast gives your body and brain the nutrients that it needs to work hard and stay going all day. Unfortunately, many students do not eat breakfast before going to school. For some, it is a lack of time in the morning; for others, it might be the financial usability to afford breakfast foods.

This problem was very apparent in Chicago Public School’s elementary schools. So, when the Chicago Board of Education passed a new program called Breakfast in the Classroom, it seemed like a good idea. The program was created to ensure that all Chicago elementary students get to eat breakfast by creating a 10-minute period at the beginning of the day when students are expected to eat a pre-made school breakfast.

There was already a pre-class breakfast program in many of these schools, but attendance was low to modest, CPS claims due to the stigma that was attached to the program: “only low-income students eat school breakfast.” Also, CPS said that many children preferred to play outside during the mornings or did not get to school early enough.

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Chocolate Milk to be Banned from School Lunches

With childhood obesity rates at an all time high, school lunches are under the microscope again. Many young students eat breakfast and lunch at school resulting in most calories being consumed away from home. Experts know that providing healthy choices at school will inevitably have an impact for students buying school meals. The newest debate on the table revolves around the nutritional benefits of chocolate milk.

Nutritionists and childhood obesity advocates argue that chocolate milk is nothing more than soda in disguise. In an effort to cut out unnecessary calories it is suggested that chocolate milk be taken off the school lunch menu. Nearly 70% of all milk consumed in schools is flavored milk, including chocolate and strawberry. By giving children the option for flavored milks “We’ve taught them to drink chocolate milk, so we can unteach them that,” director of nutritional services for Boulder Valley School District Anne Cooper told USA Today.

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New Scholarship for High School Losers

A charter school in Utah plans to award college scholarships to students based on weight loss during high school. This scholarship may be the first of its kind, but with rising concern about childhood obesity, it’s not a total shock.

A partnership between a charter high school and a local gym will give students and families the opportunity to get healthy and learn about maintaining weight loss. The school will provide focused programs on medical and sports science, while also offering required high school curriculum. Gym memberships will be available to students at no cost, and also to their families for a discounted rate.

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Fuel Up to Play 60 Encourages Schools and Students to Beat Obesity

For the second year, Fuel Up to Play 60 is corralling students, schools and parents to take daily steps to healthy up their lives and combat childhood obesity.

The funding initiative provides money to help schools jump-start and sustain healthy nutrition and physical activity improvements. Any U.S. school, K – 12, can enroll in the free program and thus be eligible to apply for up to $3,000 to help increase awareness of and access to nutrient-rich foods and physical activity opportunities for students. Read the rest of this entry »

Kids Opting Out of Taking P.E. Classes

In a time when childhood obesity is on the rise, more and more states have started allowing students to waive taking physical education classes. The number of states allowing students to opt out of P.E. classes has risen from 27 to 36 percent since 2006, according to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, or NASPE.

There is a long list of reasons that students can give for not taking a P.E. class. In some states, students can use cheerleading, marching band and interscholastic sports as a reason to receive a waiver from P.E. The number of states allowing students to sit out due to disabilities, religious reasons and health issues has risen from 18 to 30 since 2006, as well. There are more waivers received and granted in high schools than other school levels. The underlying reason for this increase in waivers is said to be a push to save money on a district wide level for schools. Some schools have even gone so far as to offer online physical education classes. This type of format combines the study of health and nutrition with students exercising on their own.

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Dr. Oz’s School Challenge Finale Airs Monday

dr. oz show logoTune in this Monday, July 19 to the Dr. Oz Show when America’s most beloved doctor hosts the grand finale of his school challenge.

Dr. Oz goes back to school to fight teen obesity – a national problem that has reached epidemic proportions. Along with his Health Corps team, Dr. Oz is committed to getting America’s teens back on the right track.

You can learn what you and your family can do to make better food and lifestyle choices by following Dr. Oz’s four healthy behaviors, specifically created for his school challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

Pennsylvania School District Combats Childhood Obesity

kids exerciseChildhood obesity is on the rise and a new study has even shown that kids whose parents are overweight are more likely to become overweight themselves.

This is becoming a very serious public health issue, since being overweight or obese can cause a whole slew of health complications, such as high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, and many more.

What can we do to help kids stay healthy and avoid all of these problems?

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Pepsi to Pull out of Schools by 2012

pepsi vendingIn its fight against childhood obesity, The World Heart Federation has been negotiating in recent months with soft drink makers to get them to remove sugar-sweetened beverages from schools. And now they are starting to enjoy the fruits of their labor, as Pepsi just announced this week that they plan on pulling all of their fully-sweetened drinks from schools in the U.S., and in more than 200 countries total, by 2012.

Coca-Cola, the leading soft drink maker in the world, has also made positive moves in a similar direction. This month their global sales policy was amended to not sell any of their beverages in primary schools world-wide, unless parents or school districts request them. However, this policy is not applicable to secondary schools.

Pepsi plans to sell only water, fat-free or low-fat milk, and juices that contain no added sugar in primary schools. In secondary schools they will sell those same products, plus Diet Pepsi and other low-calorie soft drinks. Read the rest of this entry »


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