Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Junk food in the schools

I love this article

Get "junk" food out of U.S. schools: PTA, diet group

If my daughter's school was plagued by soda, chips and generally only unhealthy choices I would be pitching a fit too. The school she attends, the same one I work at, didn't even have a water cooler until I brought one in much less a vending machine. Now I am not completely against vending machines and snacks but I think healthy choices are in order. I don't mean just carrots and water. Take for example plain Lays classic potato chips, those small bags aren't really that bad. Kids like them and as for an alternative choice to high fat and sugar selections it is the best choice. They actually even beat out high sugar granola bars and fruit roll ups.

I really believe in this issue, having a child that is fighting childhood obesity, I have strong feelings about this issue and have taken it into my own hands. When she was in 1st grade I started looking at nutrition and exercise classes she did not like ballet, soccer wasn't a hot thing either. She now attends the local YMCA and is enrolled in a fit for life program that teaches various forms of exercise and has nutrition. She knows Yoga, zumba, hip hop and how to use a variety of exercise equipment, she knows more than me! She has been taught how to read food label, portion control, healthy options and they taught her how to eat at a party or what the best thing to choose at a restaurant is. She doesn't always follow what she knows but it is in that brain of hers. This program is also very family oriented. Now they do all of this in a positive fun way and also work to build the kids self esteem. I think schools really need to teach these skills to all students and make it an overall goal to make sure children know how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Many schools short change students nutrition AND exercise. Some schools especially when no child left behind first was implemented, many districts started to cut, restrict and change around recess time. The average recess time for elementary was about 15 minutes. I really think that elementary children should have two 15 minute session at least for recess. If not just free play then an organized game or even line dancing time or something. I don't think it needs to be right after lunch, it can be 15 minutes for morning recess and 15 minute afternoon recess. Our school does the 30 minutes for every grade K-8 after lunch. I really think this is vital mentally and physically. I think this really helps them in the classroom. Many middle schools have limited or no recess. If I was in charge students would have recess or at least organized active play up to high school, or at least through middle school. This is in addition to PE class, not in place, and I would be happy if they made PE class every day or so if recess isn't viable for the school.     

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