Schools and Child Care: Where Children Should Learn Future Skills for a Healthy Lifestyle

The past post was discussing that parents are the support for their children to change their lifestyle if needed. Another important place that is affecting childhood obesity rate is child care and school. It is “estimated that over 12 million children aged zero to six years receive some form of child care on a regular basis from someone other than their parents (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). This statistic shows that a vast majority of children are learning eating and physical activity habits from locations outside their homes. This proves that there are other people besides the parents responsible for the child’s actions and should be teaching them healthy habits. This is another arena where children are learning from those around them.

Many schools feel pressure from state mandates. Students must meet state standards on tests so schools are rearranging children’s class schedules to increase class time (Warren and Smalley 61). For some schools, the first class eliminated is physical education because school officials believe that this class does not accomplish the goals that they have set for their students (Warren and Smalley 61). “Less than half of school children are enrolled in physical education courses, and less than one-third receive daily physical activity as a part of their educational curriculum” (Warren and Smalley 60). Since the child is at school or child care during most of the day they are not learning to include physical activity in their daily routine (Warren and Smalley 61). They are seeing that physical activity during school only happen on special occasions (Warren and Smalley 61). The important habit of exercising needs to be built into children’s schedule at a young age.  School is suppose to be teaching children skills for the future, and there has been research that states that children getting exercise and not gaining weight will stay in school longer and thus will have a better future (Drew).

The other habit that is not being taught in schools and child care is encouraging positive nutrition and eating habits. “Children consume more than half of their daily calories during school hours, so improving nutritional value of the foods and beverages served in schools can have effect on health” (Parker et al., 9). This should normally not happen because most schools are monitored by the federal government, right? But, the federal government only overlooks what schools are providing through the cafeterias (Warren and Smalley 47). This eliminates the regulations from what is sold in another food stores within the school and vending machines (Warren and Smalley 47). These locations have the ability to sell anything, including high calorie foods and drinks (Warren and Smalley 47). As a result, students use their lunch money at these other locations rather than use it for the more nutritious food sold in the cafeteria (Warren and Smalley 47). Such as at home, this is another opportunity to eat unhealthy foods rather than the more healthy options (Warren and Smalley 47). The money from these locations outside the cafeteria usually helps support the school, meanwhile the school is not doing a very good job in supporting healthy eating habits for their students and giving them this valuable skill for the future (Warren and Smalley 47). The next post is going to be showing examples of changes that these institutions can make to have a bigger focus on changing the epidemic.

Work Cited

Drew, Kristen. “School Officials Launching New Program to Fight Childhood Obesity.”

Komonews. Komo New 4, 26 October 2013. Web. 1 November 2013.

Parker, Lynn, Emily Ann Miller, Elena Ovaitt, and Stephen Olson. Alliances for Obesity

Prevention: Finding Common Ground. Washington D.C.: The National Academics Press, 2012. Print.

United States Senate. “Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic.”

U.S. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 4 March

2010. Hearing. Web. 1 November 2013.

Warren, Jacob C. and K. Bryant Smalley. “Always the Fat Kid: The Truth About the Enduring

Effects of Childhood Obesity.” New York: Pagrave Macmillan. 2013. Print.

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