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 obesity 
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I was watching the news tonight and one of the topics was obesity in our country's youth. I not sure if I have the numbers right, but I think they said that an 11 year old girl's average weight has increased from 77 pounds to 88 pounds within maybe ten years...? And the average 11 year old boy's weight has gone from 74 pounds to 85. This is obviously an increasing problem and I think a lot of fingers are being pointed at schools and physical education programs. I personally think a good foundation for knoweldge on the subject of health and weight begins at home, but what are some things that a regular classroom teacher can do to acknowledge and help this problem?


Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:47 pm
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I think for children at this age obesity is in large part connected to video games. Children dont get outside and play as much as they used to. They stay glued to the TV. It is also hard for parents that work to come home and fix a healthy meal. An easy out is fast food and thats what many parents do. Changing a childs eating habbits at home would mean changing the parents eating habbits as well in most cases. I think this should be a big issue in health class. The students should have to monitor what they eat as well as their parents and record everything they consume for a lesson. Based on the calorie intake the students will be able to see if they have a healthy diet. The amount of exercise should aslo be recorded because it also plays a big role in how much calories are burned. They will be able to see if their diet will cause them to gain weight. The children will continue to eat the way their parents do unless they realize that it is unhealthy.

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Adam Moore


Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:08 pm
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Adam, I definitely agree with what you said about health class. I think that would be a very good idea. I think a lot of kids don't really understand what foods are unhealthy and exactly how bad for you they are. I don't think that health classes and Phys. Ed. programs are to blame but I think they could help this issue.

I honestly don't believe that video games themselves are a big part of this issue. I think a bad diet plus no outdoor exercise is the problem. My brother has a bunch of friends that almost never go outside and "play". I also know they don't play any sports. Yet they are all very thin (almost too thin come to think of it). I know thats not representative of everyone in the country but I still feel we can't place all the blame on TV and Video Games for obesity in America.

Also, people put all this blame on digital media, but what about the 2-3 hours of homework kids are forced to spend their time doing every night. You get the same amount of exercise writing that you do pressing buttons on a controller? Some parents won't let their kids play outside until their homework is done, and by that time, its too late to play outside.

I'm not trying to sound like an advocate for the video game industry or anything, I just think sometimes people are a little too quick to blame TV and video games.


Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:33 pm
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I agree about the video game thing! I believe people are too quick to point their fingers as well. I, myself do not play video games, guess I just never really got into them.

Another thing to think about is what do schools serve for lunch? I know when I was in middle school all of my friends got pizza, french fries, chips, cookies and sodas for lunch. I don't know if all of you have seen the movie Super Size Me, but there is a clip in there about school lunches and how horrible they are. There was also a segment in there about a correctional school for boys that got a contract with a whole foods company and started serving healthy food. The students responded very well, grades went up and behavior problems went down. Was it the food they were eating? Everyone seems to think so.

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Emily Hartnett


Tue Apr 10, 2007 3:35 pm
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Well, I do believe home should be an environment that should offer the child an unbiased, truthful basis to their knowledge and understanding of the world. However, this isn’t always the case. Obesity is not just a growing problem within our youth, its a problem within our whole society. I think the reasons why a lot of kids are unhealthy and uneducated about health is because the parents are equally unhealthy and uneducated. Home should be a place where children are taught healthy eating habits and lifestyles, however, if parents don’t know about healthy eating habits and lifestyles then this learning can never occur. Like so many other things in this society, I do believe a lot of the responsibility falls upon the school to teach and educate children on this subject. Yet, schools provide very unhealthy eating choices for students during meal time. Does this make sense? No. Some things I remember from school lunch: hotdogs, fries, cookies, pizza, corndogs, chicken nuggets, ice cream, soda, hamburgers, etc. These foods aren’t detrimental to your health unless you’re eating them every day, which is the exact opportunity schools provide (at least the schools I went too). I’ve also heard some schools are doing away with ‘outside time’ in order to provide more time to other subjects. This reminds me of an article I read that mentioned something along the lines of: What the heck is the point of having genius, highly educated children if 'the body supporting them is growing sluggish and obese and the spirit animating them is chronically neglecting itself'. I thought that summed that up perfectly. I don’t understand what would drive schools to do away with physical activity and education, but whatever it is must change soon because the effects are already quite obvious.


Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:33 am
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I agree with everything Jim said and it lead me to raise another point as well. As our most of our society feeds off mass-produced items (and I am not preaching, as I eat this as well), we are becoming fatter, our organs are failing faster causing higher medical bills, and we are becoming too lazy and lethargic to get up and go on a run. Yes, fast food is horrible. According to Fast Food Nation (GREAT movie/book by the way), their is shit in our meat.

So what to do?

"Organic food" is a hot topic right now, but who can afford it? Are we doomed to eat our preservative and poo filled food? I want to call attention to an article I read in the New Yorker last September, about a "lunchroom rebellion." This is in the archives of their website, so by the bottom of the article, it says describes "...", which is what happens in the rest of the article, obviously. It is pretty great stuff. But read it, it will give you hope that similiar steps can be taken in NC in our school systems' cafeterias.
http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/0 ... act_bilger

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Mary M


Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:26 pm
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In my health education class last semester, someone from BeActice NC came to visit and brought us a book of "energizers," activities regular classroom teachers can use to get students moving while learning in subjects such as science, math, etc. Also, our teacher said not to take away recess as punishment, instead try silent lunch or other forms of punishment instead. Don't make students exercise for punishment. This gives physical activity a negative image. Teach nutrition. I just bought a Disney book called "Good for you" which is a fun book all about nutrition. Make it appealing.

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Katie David


Thu Apr 12, 2007 6:36 pm
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I totally agree with Katie's post.... I loved the movie super-size me... I thought it was pretty funny, but raised so many important points. The school lunch thing was really what got to me the most. School lunches for most kids are pretty unhealthy. Not many unprocessed foods or drinks are offered. And what kid wants to choose creamed corn when they could have frenchfries as a side?

What I liked most about super size me was that they showed the school for boys where they used a whole foods company, where all the entrees were fresh and not pre-made. I think if we can get kids off all of the sugar they consume during the day, and keep their tummies full with healthier hearty foods, they'll be able to concentrate better in the classroom.

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-Allison Sawicki


Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:24 pm
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I am taking biochemistry right now and we actually talked about obesity the other day. In human beings there is a very intricate metabolic pathway and studys have shown that High Fructose Corn Syrup (which is in all soft drinks, many fruit drinks, snacks, and candy) causes a very important rate slowing step to be skipped. This means that our bodies will produce way more stored energy in our bodies that we normally would. This of course means that you have to work harder to loose weight. In combination with kids lowered activity this is definitly a problem.

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Diana Zong


Sun Apr 15, 2007 4:51 pm
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I do think the diet within our country has gotten out of control but we also have to understand that everyone is different. I have pretty much lived off of soft drinks and eaten anything i want at any time of the day. I mean i have cooked steak at 11:00pm and then went to bed with no worries. My main point is that the diets that we choose should reflect our lifestyle and our own body types. I have always been very active and into sports pretty much since i was born. Alot of parents also force their children to finish everything that is on their plate which is not necessarily bad but the child should learn on their own what "full" feels like and to stop eating when they get there. Feeling like vomiting is not "full", it is over endulged. Again, my diet has not been the healthiest yet it has also not caused any excessive weight gain. I'd also like to add that BEER is enjoyed by many americans :D . Maybe weight watchers will come out with their own brand.

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Dustin Hull


Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:22 am
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I think it is interesting that it is a state requirement for children to get at least 20 min. of physical activity each day, but some schools ignore that completely, breaking the law and putting our children in danger of obesity. 30 min. isn't even that much, but I feel like as teachers we can learn to incorporate physical activity into our academics.

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Susanne M Olson


Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:29 pm
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A lot of people place the blame on video games and what not as a cause of childhood obesity. I think that this is only the beginning of the cause. Look at kid's diets these days. My buddy at a meal at McDonalds the other day, and we calculated that it was over 1000 calories, and he didn't even eat that much! Parents really should watch what their children eat because I think that diet is the leading cause of childhood obesity. Children already have an extremely high metabolism, so even if they just run around the house 1 time, they'll be good for their exercise for the day.

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Matt Cobb


Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:33 am
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