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Teaching younger students about nutrition can help to prevent childhood obesity and benefit their overall lives

TOGETHER TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD OBESITY: Students learn about multiple factors of healthy eating, including portion size and healthy choices. Incorporating positive nutrition classes into schools' curriculum can have a big effect of the nutritional future of students.

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TOGETHER TO FIGHT CHILDHOOD OBESITY: Students learn about multiple factors of healthy eating, including portion size and healthy choices. Incorporating positive nutrition classes into schools' curriculum can have a big effect of the nutritional future of students.

Kendall LoMauro, Staff Writer

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According to the American Heart Association, one in three American children and teenagers are overweight. Children who attend school should be informed about healthy choices in their early years to understand how it can affect their future in terms of their body.

Childhood obesity is the number one health concern, topping drug abuse and smoking. Obesity in children has tripled in prevalence from 1971-2011.

The overall concern is the health issues that are customary to obesity, including high blood pressure, type two diabetes and elevated cholesterol levels. On the physiological side, overweight children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image, and depression.

Preventing childhood obesity can be prevented in many ways such as healthy eating behaviors, regular physical activity, and reducing sedentary activity. According to The Department of Heath in New York, these preventative strategies are part of a healthy lifestyle that should be developed during early childhood.

Junior Justin Murray said, “Since the rate of childhood obesity is very high. Taking little time out of every school day to teach basic nutrition that might not be taught in the home of the student will benefit these students have a better future nutrition wise.”

According to The Food Futurist, people know very little about proper nutrition. The average person may have some ideas about how many calories he or she needs on a daily basis, but it hardly goes much further than that. Most people do not even know how the different groups of carbs (starch, sugars and fibers) are used in the body and the suggested consumption ratio. The result is a diet that has negative long-term effects.

A provided website such as ChooseMyPlate.gov should be used in the school’s curriculum. School is the place where children are educated to do the right things in the future. Nutrition should be mandated into the curriculum, but there is more to enforcing the nutrition policy than just teaching it.

The school must provide healthy options in their eating facility and eliminate unhealthy options, such as pizza and sugary drinks. Eliminating vending machines in schools can take away junk food and bad choices and provide new, healthier options. Vending machines may generate revenue for schools, but it works against helping kids to have a healthy diet.

Junior Amanda Laezza said,”Children would much rather spend their lunch money on sugary drinks and snacks other than water and broccoli. As a community who wants the best, we shouldn’t just give students healthier alternatives, we should enforce healthier lifestyles by complete changes in the lunches and nutrition curriculum.”

By teaching students about nutrition, teachers can also benefit. Only half of elementary school teachers (52 percent) have had formal training in teaching nutrition, which is unacceptable. Teachers of all ages share the same goal of wanting to help their students. Teaching nutrition can do the most for the student, alongside the basic math facts or reading skills learned in school.

According to The Huffington Post, “Parents would be outraged if their children in elementary school didn’t learn that two plus two is four, or couldn’t identify the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Yet, demonstrated in 2010, some American school kids cannot identify tomatoes, beets, or cauliflower, or might mistake an eggplant for a pear.”

Without looking on Google, What is a carbohydrate? How can it negatively impact your body if you consumed too many?

If this question stumped you, know that it is not your fault. It is the fault of the community. Enforcing healthy eating should be customary to benefit the students now and in the future.

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Teaching younger students about nutrition can help to prevent childhood obesity and benefit their overall lives