Getting an Education in Fitness: Schools and Obesity
In the midst of somber news about the climbing rate of childhood obesity and its consequences, some schools have found ways to brighten the outlook.
At the end of 2004, parents received dire news about childhood obesity and its connection to fast food. We can provide healthy food and drink when our children are with us, but what happens when they’re at school?
Children who get up early to catch a bus or ride, go straight from school to the TV, then stay up late to do homework or trade instant messages often try to replace their lost sleep with calorie rich snacks – including carbonated drinks and junk food from the 65,000 vending machines available to them in schoolyards and hallways.
Fortunately, there are now about 7,000 vending machines in the nation’s schools that sell a tempting variety of flavored milks, in an effort to give children the calcium that builds bone, instead of fat.
The East Penn School District in Emmaus, PA, is one of the systems that got the junk out of its vending machines. East Penn also started walking clubs for its elementary students and made obesity prevention a part of the health curriculum in all grades. As a result, this health conscious school district saw an 18% drop in obesity rates among its students.
What do you do, though, when you’re concerned about your child’s weight, and your school district does not offer a community that supports his/her health? You may want to consider a specialized boarding school that focuses on the needs of overweight children.
In a report to Congress, epidemiologist Ross Brownson called for action to address childhood obesity all across America. “We have to…make available healthy food…to have schools where children can take gym and aren’t sold soft drinks in the hallways…to offer protection from the commercial forces that are preying on children through the media.”
Until Brownson’s vision is a nationwide reality, a boarding school with specialization in treating obesity can offer your child an educational environment that not only teaches skills for life, but tools for a long, healthy life.
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