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Thread: Children's health/food/exercise

  1. #1
    FORT Fogey
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    Children's health/food/exercise

    It was in our local news lately that some schools are thinking of removing candy, soda, donuts and other high sugar, high calorie foods from vending machines to help combat the problem of obesity in adolescents.

    Some schools are also considering, or already have dropped physical education from the school acedemic schedule. Which certainly would only ADD to the problem.

    What do you think? It seems to me that the brunt of providing direction and discipline to a child's eating and or excercise habbits should fall squarely on the shoulders of the parents - but many parents feel the schools have a responsibility to monitor the situation as well.

    Is keeping junk food away from kids during school hours an answer?

    Or will the kids just pack it in their backpacks and bring it from home.

    Also the lack of excercise of our youth is very troubling. I live near a park with a playground, baseball diamond, basketball courts and lots of grassy areas for other type of play.

    The playground is always full of toddlers and younger children, but aside from organized little league and soccer teams, the fields often remain empty and unused.

    Do our youth spend too much time in front of the TV, computer, video games and eating junk food? Are they becoming less healthy and less social as a result?

    Or is this all just a generational "sing of the times"?

  2. #2
    Premium Member FinallyHere's Avatar
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    Removing soda and candy vending machines from schools has been a relatively popular issue in my area too. One of the reasons that they never actually pull them from the schools is the fact that they are good money makers.

    Back in the late 70's/early 80's when I was in elementary school there was a big push for healthy snacks. Soda was banned and teachers were diiscouraged from having candy at holiday parties. "Mmmm, These Christmas carrot sticks are just to die for" we'd say. Crafty parents would wrap aluminum foil around soda cans and put them in their kid's lunch.

    I think one of the reasons you see fewer children out in parks is the fact that so many of them come home to empty homes because they are either being raised by a single parent wh works full time or have both parents who work. I think that many parents are reluctant to have their kids go too far from their home when they're not around. Combine that with TV, video games and computers and its no wonder that many kids stay inside.
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    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daddio
    Do our youth spend too much time in front of the TV, computer, video games and eating junk food? Are they becoming less healthy and less social as a result?
    No question about it.

    Where I live, there is a very strong movement towards increased physical activity, focused particularly on kids. Instead of an afternoon recess in elementary schools (I don't know about high school) all kids participate in a MANDATORY walk around the school track. In bad weather, at recess time, the office plays music on the loudspeaker and all kids have to get up and dance (it's hilarious to see ). Also, participation in sports is encouraged (my oldest is a preschooler and goes to gymnastics and will be starting soccer next month). I work for an ice sports complex and there is literally thousands of kids who play hockey (boys AND girls) and who attend summer sports camps (both competitive and non-competitive).

    My husband plays hockey as well and has volunteered to coach soccer. I work out regularly (my oldest sometimes joins me) and when our good weather finally arrives, take both my girls for daily walks to the playground. (It only SEEMS like I'm always at the computer ) Setting a good example for kids is really important.

    And...call me a mean mom, but no video games allowed in my house :nono. No X-boxes, Nintendos, Segas, or whatever. My oldest is allowed to go on the computer 2 or 3 times a week to play her Dora the Explorer game or navigate a kid-friendly website, no more than that.
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    Never a dull moment! chrelsey's Avatar
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    Hmmmm . . . a topic of great interest in our area as well, and, definitely one that is viewed as "unfair" by my own teenagers.

    My personal thoughts - keep the cokes (generic Texas term for all soft drinks!) and candy machines out of elementary and middle schools, but allow them in high school. It will keep the younger kids from filling up on junk at an early age . . . and teenagers - well, they're teenagers, and they're going to find a way to eat it anyway. Probably an unpopular opinion with most - and I'm not saying that I would give my kids all the money they wanted so that they could fill up on junk. I just know that I've raised my kids to have somewhat healthy eating habits, but, teens are going to find a way to get a coke or some candy if they really want it! I'd rather them not have to feel like they have to "sneak" it into the school or go around the system to get it.

    On the physical activity side of the question - yes, I think kids in general are spending way too much time in front of the TV and on the computer. The Internet offers such incredible opportunities for sitting for hours doing nothing but staring at a screen (just look at how much time I spend on FORT!). I feel fortunate, though, that my kids are all involved in school activities that are just that - ACTIVITIES - they move around a LOT!!! Now, during the summer, that's a different story!
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  5. #5
    Peeking In Duxxy's Avatar
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    There are just so many things that can be said about this issue.
    My daughter is 4 and she's never had a sip of soda. It's not part of the Canada food guide, it has no nutritional value and therefore is unnecessary. It has no place in our schools.
    Yes, as parents it is our responsibility to teach our kids how to make healthy choices. As parents we guide our children and then set them free on the world, hoping for the best.
    I'd say yes take the vending machines out and bring in machines that offer healthy choices. 100% juice and water instead of soda. Take the snack food out of the machines and offer fruit or snacks made with whole grains, yogurt and puddings.
    I really hate to refer to Dr. Phil but ... by leaving the temptations in the school it sets the kids up for sabotage. It won't prevent them from eating the crap at home but it will control it for the 40 hrs or so a week that they are in school. Ideally parents can control their intake while they are home.

    It wouldn't be the cure-all but it sure would help. As for the teens... some of them make their own money, if they want it they will just buy it, hopefully they've been taught to make healthy choices before they enter high school.

    Physical activity is very important and belongs in our schools. It goes hand in hand with all of the other subjects (including art and music - which are also being cut) to turning out well- rounded people. It's a crying shame that these things that will benefit our kids the most are being left by the wayside.
    "Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."

  6. #6
    Under Investigation Tirlittan's Avatar
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    I am glad my son's school doesn't have a vending machine. The problem I see is that although the school provides nutrionally balanced meals, to me chips on side is not good. We don't eat junk at home usually, so I guess it's okay to have some in school. However, when I look at their "balanced" list of food all I see is grease grease and more grease in some slightly hidden form.

    I wish they had more PE at school, and that they would go out more often. Back home it is 45 minutes academics, and then mandatory break to play outside for 15 minutes, all school day through. Of course we hated that we had to head outside when ever it was not below -15 C or raining cats and dogs, but I think the kids at home were much slender than in United States. One strange thing about my son's PE is that they don't change to sports clothing for PE. That is so weird to me. I am not even sure that they have dressing rooms to change for PE, I suspect not. It's elementary school, but good habits start young. I guess one could call this my pet peeve about PE around here. Are the teachers just too lazy to make the kids change clothing or what is the problem, I do not understand.
    ps. This is just my opinion in the matter.

  7. #7
    FORT Fogey
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tirlittan
    One strange thing about my son's PE is that they don't change to sports clothing for PE. That is so weird to me. I am not even sure that they have dressing rooms to change for PE, I suspect not. It's elementary school, but good habits start young. I guess one could call this my pet peeve about PE around here. Are the teachers just too lazy to make the kids change clothing or what is the problem, I do not understand.
    When I was growing up (in the 1970's) in grade school we had PE twice a week (Tuesdays & Thursdays) and we didnt change clothes either. We just changed into our gym shoes. We had recess twice a day for 15 minutes - same as you, pretty much rain or shine. We also could not eat lunch at school unless both parents worked full time. So i had to walk to and from home at lunch. Barely enough time to eat and watch a few minutes of the Bozo Show. LOL

    So i think its pretty common not to change for PE in grade school...we began having PE daily and changing clothes, having access to locker room and showers etc. beginning in junior high.

  8. #8
    Under Investigation Tirlittan's Avatar
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    So it is a cultural difference... This gave me an idea, I have to write a paper next semester comparing two cultures from some aspect(s), and I think I'll compare the school/education systems
    ps. This is just my opinion in the matter.

  9. #9
    Premium Member FinallyHere's Avatar
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    I didn't change for PE in elementary school either. We just had to make sure we wore snaeakers on those days.
    Some people are like slinkies, they're useless until you push them down the stairs.

  10. #10
    FORT Fogey
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tirlittan
    So it is a cultural difference... This gave me an idea, I have to write a paper next semester comparing two cultures from some aspect(s), and I think I'll compare the school/education systems

    Thats a GREAT idea for a paper...that or Socialized Medicine vs. Privatized Medicine and the cost of healtcare in each system...but that one has probably been done to death.

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