English Composition 122
Professor Jen Miller
December 10, 2012
Childhood Obesity: Prevention in Schools
The youth of America is on a path of destruction. Let’s Move!, a campaign launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, reports that the number of obese or overweight children has tripled in the last three decades. They also say that if this epidemic is not stopped, one-third of children born after the year 2000 will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives and others could face problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma. ("America's move to," 2012) Children spend majority of their day at school five of the seven days a week. This is where a healthy lifestyle needs to start. School hours of today are mostly focused on subjects covered on state assessment tests. While providing students with the education they need to pass these tests is an important issue, children need to learn a healthy way of living and eating as well. It is true that parents need to be held accountable for the health and well-being of their own children. However, it is not solely up to them. Children spend roughly forty hours a week at school if they attend for five eight hour days. Some attend after school programs also. Majority of their time is spent away from their parents and in an environment that is meant for teaching them. Why not teach them how to lead more healthy lives and put an end to this controllable epidemic? The youth of the nation’s health is at stake and school systems must make a positive effort to reduce the growing rate of childhood obesity, or many of these kids will not have a future.
In the 1950’s and 60’s, most American families ate a home cooked dinner, as a family, together at the dinner table. Children took sack lunches and ate healthy breakfasts before running off to school, sometimes literally. Children of that generation walked everywhere they needed to go and there was no such thing as a computer, cell phone, or video game to distract them from playing sports or games outdoors. Television was not a necessity to their day. Times have changed. The young generation of today live on fast food and sodas for dinner because families are too busy to sit down for a meal together. Schools are serving fatty foods instead of nutritious meals and there are vending machines in hallways for easy access to a quick snack. Children are eating more and more and physical activity and outside games have been replaced with electronics and virtual reality. School lunch lines no longer serve nutritionally balanced meals. In many schools today, the menus consist of chicken nuggets, pizza, chocolate milk, and burgers. One out of every three children across America is considered overweight or obese ("America's move to”, 2012). This is a far cry from the way things once were. What was so different sixty years ago? Aside from busier lifestyles and different family dynamics, schools actually educated kids on life, health, and the things necessary to thrive. In a personal interview with a local high school senior of Baker County High School, Casey Padgett reported that the lunches that are served by his school are the farthest thing from appealing and in his opinion, “do not seem very healthy anyway”. Juniors and seniors that drive are permitted to leave school to eat lunch as long as they return before their next class begins. This particular school has a cooking class as an elective. This class raises money for the school by selling food that is cooked by the students. The foods served range from pizza, french fries, corn dogs, brownies and cookies. This is a perfect example of the times we live in. If schools today make these unhealthy foods so accessible then most kids will choose them over a nutritious meal, especially when the nutritious meals are not appealing to them. In the present day, schools focus...