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Fight Against Obesity For Students in US Schools

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:18pm

Out of a population of about 300 million people in US, more than 200 million of them are overweight or obese . And, nearly 13 million children and adolescents are found to be overweight. Some obese children, who are admitted at the hospitals for treatments, weigh as high as 400 to 500 pounds (180 to 225 kgs), and they can barely breathe.

Four culprits of childhood obesity quoted by health experts are:
  • Fast food,
  • Television,
  • Soft drinks, and
  • A sedentary lifestyle

Most of the families do not really make any effort to stop their children from becoming overweight or obese, therefore, the burden to prevent outbread of such epidemic naturally falls on the schools. As we know, overweight or obesity can easily lead to diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) or even heart disease.

The educators and health officials are beginning to make effort to replace greasy fast food with healthy meals in schools. Small by encouraging results are observed.

For example, in Arkansas, measurements of the students' body mass have been taken in their schools for the past three years and the schools have begun sending letters to warn the parents of school-children who are obese. Banning on junk food in cafeterias and soda drinks in vending machines coupled with greater emphasis on sports have reduced the rate of obesity from 20.9 percent in 2004 to 20.6 percent in 2007. Though the reduction is merely marginal, the measures adopted seem to stablize the rate of obesity.

According to another report In Texas (close to EI Paso), a similar health program has in fact brought the percentage of children with weight problems from 25.8 percent in 2002 down to 23.4 percent in 2005.

Nevertheless, schools cannot offer all the solutions because the time spent by American children at school accounts only 19.5 percent of their time, with vacations and weekends being factored in.

As such, some experts think that depending solely on local initiatives to fight the war against obesity is not sufficient. Instead, they urge active involvement of the federal government in a systematic way.

"We won the war on hunger in 1964, we need to win the war on obesity." This was a statement made by one of the health professionals, who also believe the government should forbid advertising of junk food to children.

Personally, I would think that support from the families of these obese kids also plays a very important role if significant results are to be seen. Perhaps, the parents should start doing something for themselves without delay so as to set examples for their overweight children to follow.
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