Not only is obesity a problem among adults, but it also affects children. The adolescents, teenagers, and even preschoolers are increasingly manifesting symptoms of obesity. In 2000, 15% of children and 16% of teenagers were obese. These figures were higher than those reported in the 1970s by approximately four folds. Further, an extra 15% of children and teenagers are prone for becoming overweight (American Association for the Advancement of Science,
7). Childhood obesity is associated with real-time impact on daily routine. Children require healthy diet and exercise to develop physically and cognitively. Children require a balanced diet of nutritious food in order to grow and to supply them with energy (American Association for the Advancement of Science,
8). In order to help curb the increased cases of childhood obesity, school nutrition and physical education guidelines have been set up. The essay shall endeavor to find out if these guidelines have succeeded in reducing childhood obesity.
Causes of childhood obesity
Regrettably, the present day children get relatively less exercise than the past generations. Contemporary children abscond walking to school and instead they ride on bus or in a car unlike their parents.
Also, while their parents played physical games such as tag or stickball after classes, modern kids spend most of their time playing video games or watching TV or on computer. Numerous schools have attempted to avert reducing lesson time by reducing gym lessons or alternatively recess. Lack of enough time for exercise increases risk for children to become overweight.
School nutrition and physical education
School can assist students implement and sustain healthy feeding and physical exercise habits. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has published instructions that recognize school rules and performances which will boost lifelong healthy eating and physical activity.
Schools approach nutrition and physical activity through Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) strategy. This strategy incorporate roles of eight elements of the school community that impact greatly on student health. This elements include; (a) health training; (b) physical training; (c) nutrition services; (d) health services; (e) social, psychological, and counseling services; (f) healthy school setting; (g) health support for personnel; and (h) family and society participation (Marx, Wooley, & Northrop, 27, qtd in Wechsler, McKenna, Lee, & Dietz,
6). CSHPs specialize on promoting the excellence of each of these elements and expanding liaison between the people dealing with them. The CSHP model has been implemented by education bureau in many states, counting 23 state education bureaus that are sponsored by CDC to develop state-level infrastructure to facilitate statewide CSHPs (Wechsler, McKenna, Lee and Dietz, 6).
School Health Policy and Programs Study (SHPPS)
SHPPS is a nationwide study periodically performed to evaluate school health rules and programs at classroom, school, district, and state levels (Department of Health and Human Services CDC, par. 1-2).
- Health education statistics: – during the two years prior to the survey, the ratio of states that afforded financial support for staff training or offered staff training on physical exercise and fitness to those who train health education expanded from 68.8 percent in 2000 to 82.4 percent in 2006.
Also, the ratio of districts that provided financial support for staff improvement or provided staff training on physical exercise and fitness to teachers of health education expanded from 43.3 percent in 2000 to 75.3 percent in 2006.
- Physical activity statistics: – 96.8 percent of elementary schools offered consistent planned recess for students 1 grade as a minimum. Within the schools, the students were programmed to cover recess averagely 4.9 days weekly for a mean of 30.2 minutes daily. 79.1 percent of elementary schools afforded break for students across grades in school.
48.4 percent of schools provided physical activity clubs to students, and 22.9 percent of such schools afforded transportation home for student members of these clubs.
The ratio of schools providing physical activity clubs that needed students that charged students for these activities expanded from 23.0 percent in 2000 to 35.0 percent in 2006.
77.0 percent of middle schools and 91.3 percent of high schools provided students opportunities to involve in 1 inter4scholarship sport as a minimum, and 29.1 percent of such schools afforded transportation home for involved students.
Moreover, when school was not operational, children and teenagers accessed the school’s physical activity resources for community-sponsored sports squads in 68.9 percent of schools, for facilitated “free play” in 40.3 percent of schools, and for community-sponsored lessons including gymnastics or tennis, in 33.3 percent of schools.
Clearly, the increasing trend for school nutrition and physical exercise programs indicate that schools are increasingly appreciating their contribution in their student health status. This awareness will help reduce childhood obesity.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. Obesity: the science inside. Washington DC.: Free Press, 2006. Print.
Department of Health and Human Services CDC. School Health Policy and Programs Study (SHPPS). Journal of School Health, 77.8(2007).
Wechsler Howell, McKenna Mary L., Lee Sarah M., and Dietz William H. The role of schools in preventing childhood obesity. State education standards. New York: Sage, 2004. Print.