Teachers Role in Addressing/Preventing Obesity

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The greatest health risk facing children today is not a terrible disease such as Leukaemia. It is obesity, a condition that has been on the rise in the past several decades. Obesity is defined as an excessive accumulation of body fat or when total body fat is more than 25% in boys and more than 32% in girls. Factors associated with obesity can include genes, domestic environment, health conditions, psychological influences and lifestyle and eating habits. However research has shown that the child’s environment is the most crucial factor . Investigating children progressing through the middle childhood stage, the importance of physical activity in children’s lives will be explored, as well as the possible role of teachers in preventing childhood obesity through education.

Through physical activity children of the middle childhood age of 6-10 years develop healthy muscles, bones and joints; they develop a healthy cardiovascular system and they also foster higher neuromuscular awareness, influencing co-ordination, how they control movement and the development of fine and gross motor skills. Most obviously it enables them to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. In middle childhood, children build on their emerging physical capabilities. Many gross motor skills, once awkward, are now executed smoothly . The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends that children engage in some form of moderate to high physical activity for 30 to 60 minutes every day of the week . Children who do not meet these goals are at higher risk of becoming overweight, experiencing elevated blood pressure, being diagnosed with type II diabetes, or having one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease or osteoporosis in later life. Studies have also shown that when these health risk factors are identified in middle childhood they tend to carry over into adolescence and adulthood . Physical activity is also vital for children aged 6-10 to improve psychological...
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