Thursday, April 10, 2008

They're Fat - and It's All Our Fault Too

Childhood obesity is all over the news now. Turns out it's all the fault of the schools - just as "moral breakdown", "lack of respect", "Kids can't read" and all of society's many other ills are also laid at the schoolhouse door.

Many of the kids where I work are overweight and more than a few are obese. We have children at risk for diabetes, children who can't walk a lap round gym with out huffing and puffing and children with beer bellies that rival those of middle age men. Many of our kids are poor, Hispanic and latchkey - all breeding grounds for obesity.

We feed the kids 10 meals a week - breakfast and lunch. The school lunch program bristles with rules about nutrition and what the kids are offered is low in sugar and fat and fairly healthy. 2% milk, fresh fruit, whole wheat bread, oven baked rather than fried chicken. It's not half bad.

That's offered - not eaten. The amount that hits the trash makes a taxpayer cry. They drink a swallow or two of milk, nibble at the meat and pretty much ignore the fruit. Many of the kids bring bags of chips from home which are eaten in lieu of their meal. The principal had to send a note home telling parents not to send sodas to school. Just try teaching a classroom of children who have dined on Coca Cola and Hot Cheetos for a mid-day meal.

Yesterday I encountered one of our "square children" in the staff lounge - one of her relatives works at school. Child was whining for potato chips from the snack machine and said chips were bought and eaten. Relation told me child is always whining for junk food. The day before the child asked for and ate a Happy Meal ( not the apple slices & juice version ), a candy bar and a doughnut. This was between the hours of 3pm and bedtime.

Our school nurse runs an health club and gives nutrition lessons. She offers parent classes on cooking. She counsels children and gives them suggestions about keeping a food dairy and making healthy choices. It breaks her heart when the child returns the diary the following week and the score shows Diary Queen 5 and green vegetable 1.

We feed them 10 meals a week - the other 11 meals are eaten at home - that's more than half. Yet it's all our fault the kids are fat.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Point well taken and understood. I empathize, I have also taught school children.

I have a website with free low calorie recipes and vegetarian recipes.

Would be interested in exchanging links?

I have already added your link at Low Calorie Recipes: Related Blogs.

Would you like to link back to me as well?

The site is:

Low Calorie Recipes

And the url is: