Obesity Intervention in Schools: Are We Helping or Hurting?
Recently there has been a big push for nutrition education and physical activity in elementary and middle schools in effort to fight childhood obesity. The increase in obesity we’re seeing in children is certainly a cause for concern and one that should be addressed on a public level. However, we need to be certain our efforts are helping not hurting. As we see a rise in obesity, we’re also seeing a rise in the number of eating disorder cases in younger children. Parents are reporting more alarming eating behaviors in their kids and becoming more concerned about the messages they’re receiving at school. This article describes the potential deleterious effects of some of these obesity-fighting strategies.
The good news is that as a parent, you can take an active role in promoting positive body image and eating attitudes. here are a few simple tips:
- Involve kids in the kitchen. Show that food is a great way to spend time together
- Emphasize what healthy foods can do for their body, not that they can make them “skinny”
- Focus on physical activity as a way to spend time together and stay healthy, not to lose weight
- Monitor their eating habits and talk to them if anything concerns you; if it progresses further talk to their doctor.
- Model a healthy, positive attitude towards food and just as important, the joy of eating.
- Become aware of the nutrition/physical activity programs in place at your child’s school.