Obesity-Prevention Classes Discussed as Overweight Numbers Grow

By Fehrenbacher, Jessica | Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current), July 3, 2012 | Go to article overview

Obesity-Prevention Classes Discussed as Overweight Numbers Grow


Fehrenbacher, Jessica, Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)


The issue of weight is an extremely difficult subject, especially when approaching young people. However, it is imperative that the issue be dealt with in a respectful and clear way. In the October 2011 issue of the NIH News in Health, a monthly newsletter from the National Institutes of Health, it was reported that obesity rates have tripled in youth over the past three decades. Today, about one in three children and teens in the U.S. are considered overweight or obese. (www.newsinhealth.nih.gov).

With the rates of weight gain in young people going up, there is increased interest in the subject. The American Medical Association (AMA) is pushing for yearly instruction aimed at preventing obesity for schoolchildren and teens. The AMA has agreed to support legislation that would require classes in causes, consequences and prevention of obesity for first through 12th graders.

Not only is there a push for increased awareness and education in the schools, but there is new research that suggests obesity may affect school performance. According to a report in the Child Development journal, 6,250 children from kindergarten through fifth grade were followed and it was discovered that those who were obese throughout that period scored lower on math tests than their non- obese peers.

"I think it's been established that there's a link between obesity or physical fitness and academic achievement," says Rebecca London, a senior researcher at Stanford University's Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities. However, London and other experts caution that this link is much more complicated than it might seem. …

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