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Creating a Healthy School/ Child Care Environment

As stated in the previous post, what children observe and learn at child care and school are going to affect their future. Or more importantly, any lack is going to result in lacks in their lifestyle habits. These institutions need to implement in their curriculum physical education and health education by trained professionals who can create the age appropriate curriculums for physical and health education (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9).

            One of the first changes that need to occur is re-implementing physical education in schools for all grades, and requiring physical activity from children in child care (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9).  The curriculum will include specific amounts of time that each age group is required to have physical activity. This minimum required time does not only need to happen in structured physical education classes (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). By allowing them time to have unstructured time to play they will be more likely to find physical activity that they enjoy and will want to do (Warren and Smalley 9). Another goal is to get them away from sitting in class all day, possibly using technology, and getting them to move around and engage with other children in ways other than classroom learning (Parker et al., 23).

There should be health education every year with an emphasis on nutrition (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9).  An important way for children to learn about a particular topic is by doing hands on experiences. If schools create a garden, and children utilize it by gardening themselves it will teach them how rewarding eating what they have grown is (Parker et al., 18). Or the school could participate in the Farm to School program, where farms and schools create agreements and the farm provides food for the local school (Parker et al., 15). When students are able to see the farm process and have a garden at a young age it becomes a norm for them to have healthy fresh produce (Parker et al., 15).

School cafeterias need to change and cafeteria cooks need to be trained in cooking healthy (Parker et al., 9). When they are trained to cook for children in a healthy way then they will be able to decide what food to get, and cook options that are healthy for students (Parker et al., 9-10). If the cafeteria provides appealing healthy options to students which include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein with limited access to high calorie snacks the students would be more inclined to eat that for lunch (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9).

Just like in the household the teachers and school staff should be modeling healthy behaviors for the children. By setting up wellness policies for the staff they will be role models for the children (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). The school need to work with parents as well, educating them on the importance of the health curriculum being taught in the school (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). Schools need to provide parents with resources that reinforces what is taught in school so they can promote positive health messages at home (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). The next post is exploring another institution that is incorporated into the epidemic in a different way than the household and educational institutions and that is the health care facilities.

Work Cited

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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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.