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School Obesity Programs May Promote Disordered Eating Behaviors

Posted Jan 30 2012 6:26pm
Why hello there! Happy Monday, friends. :-)

Today began with a kick-butt workout! It started with 30 minutes of intervals on the arc trainer and ended with 3 circuits of my favorite Tone It Up lower body workout . I was in and out in an hour and left a sweaty (but happy!) mess.

Breakfast

I came back to eat a bowl of pumpkin overnight oats before heading off to class. This baby was sooo good. 

To make my heart-shaped bowl of deliciousness, I combined the following last night:

  • 1/2 cup organic, old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp. walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp. raisins
  • Cinnamon & nutmeg to taste

Winner!

Today is my longest day of classes (7 freaking hours!), so lunch was welcomed with open arms and a pretty big rumbly in my tumbly ( Winnie the Pooh anyone? ;-) ).

Lunch

I made a quick and tasty salad of kale, tomatoes, broccoli florets, avocado, and Whole Foods sesame dressing. I also spread a slice of Ezekiel bread with hummus and sprinkled it with mesquite. I just love mesquite! It’s become one of my favorite seasonings. It adds the perfect punch to dishes!

Some meals just never get old!

Dinner

After a long day of classes, I was looking forward to a no-fuss dinner. So, I made myself a Mexican-inspired bowl of goodness. 

Obviously, I was hungry because I totally neglected my food presentation. Eh. ;-)  Anyways, dinner was so easy! I combined black beans, quinoa, tomatoes, green pepper, and a generous serving of peach salsa in a bowl. After heating it up in the microwave for 2 minutes, I had a delicious dinner ready for eating!

Also, as a side note, I could eat peach salsa as a meal in and of itself. That stuff rules!

School Obesity Programs May Promote Disordered Eating Behaviors

Today’s topic of discussion was submitted to me yesterday by reader Kristen (Hi, girl!). As soon as I received this article, I couldn’t wait to tackle it over here.

The article highlights the  C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health . The poll indicates a correlation between school-based childhood obesity programs and an increase in eating disordered behaviors. Researchers asked parents about school-based obesity programs and about their children exhibiting disordered eating behaviors, such as dieting, obsession with fatty foods and/or food labels, refusing to eat family meals, and over-exercising. The obesity prevention programs focus on nutrition education, specifically limiting sweets and “junk food” in the classroom, ideal height and weight measurements, and incentives for physical activity.

( Source )

According to results, 30% of parents reported their children exhibiting at least one type of behavior associated with eating disorders. 

So, what’s going wrong here?

  • The Approach.
Most kids, aged 6 – 14 years old, absorb information in a very black and white manner. If you tell a kid to limit his or her intake of sweets, he or she is most likely going to read that as “Eliminate all sweets from your life always and forever.” It is important not only to emphasize moderation but to deliver that information in a fun way.

So, how do we fix it?

  • Take Away Restriction.
Nutrition education is heavily focused on restriction and setting standards. That is also the root of eating disorders – the desire to live up to a certain standard. Children don’t know what to do with numbers except abide by them. It would be a better idea to focus on what children can enjoy.

  • Implement Fun!
What do kids love? Catchy names! Create a program called “Making Mighty Meals!” and teach children how to create a fun, whole-grain pasta dish with veggies and lean protein. Talk a little bit about the nutrition component but emphasize how the meal will give you energy to play at recess with your friends. Teachers could give kids the recipe introduced in class and make it an assignment to cook the meal with their family and bring in a picture of the meal. Then, the class could have a discussion about the meal. This takes the focus off  the junk and on the good stuff in a fun way.

Now, this is only one of several possible solutions, and I know there are budgetary issues to consider here. However, the program mentioned above would take roughly 20 minutes two days a week. Isn’t that worth it for a healthier and, more importantly, happier bunch of kiddos?

Stay lovely,
Heather

Question of the Day: What is your take on this poll? What would you do differently with school-based obesity prevention programs? Let’s discuss!

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