Elementary school students today are diverse by race, culture, and background. The student population includes non-Hispanic white, black, Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and other races. They represent different linguistic, social, and cultural groups. However, there is a problem that unites all of them. It is childhood obesity, and it should be systematically addressed because it may cause other illnesses.
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Overweight schoolchildren often suffer from chronic diseases and sleep disorders. Obesity negatively affects the psychological condition and leads to isolation or depression (Harb, 2012). This illness should not be associated with a specific race as it is a common issue. Although, racial oppression can cause psychological problems leading to overeating. Being overweight in elementary school is often the result of poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle, but it can also be caused by endocrine system diseases (Hutchinson & Calland, 2011; Le Grange & Lock, 2011). Scientists claim that “early intervention may help to prevent the onset or alter the course of illness” (Schmidt, Brown, McClelland, Glennon & Mountford., 2016, p. 374). It means that a systematic approach is required (Knightsmith, 2015). Schools should take the leadership role in educating students by applying certain policies and cooperating with parents. Sometimes the cause for illness is the lack of parental attention (Teens referred to hospital, 2015).
The mission of the school is to educate students, and it should teach how to lead a healthy lifestyle (Knightsmith, 2015). Nutrition lessons should go hand in hand with promoting an active way of life in and out of school. Healthy school food would provoke healthier eating habits. At this point, ethical dilemmas arise. At the age of four to eleven, children are vulnerable, so schools should address the obesity issue correctly. For instance, they can provide anonymous apprehensible information on
BMI (body mass index). Thus keeping children informed and maintaining their psychological condition stable. Also, informing parents about health issues of a child should be a legal school obligation.
Needless to say that childhood obesity is the epidemic caused by public health, social, and economic factors. The number of children suffering from this illness is increasing, and it is unlikely that it would be reversed without school contribution. Bearing in mind that obesity may result in other eating or health disorders it is crucial to address this problem immediately.
Harb, C. (2012). Child eating disorders on the rise. Web.
Hutchinson, N., & Calland, C. (2011). Body image in the primary school. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.
as little as 3 hours
Knightsmith, P. (2015). Self-harm and eating disorders in schools: A guide to whole-school strategies and practical support. London, UK: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Le Grange, D., & Lock, J. (2011). Eating disorders in children and adolescents: A clinical handbook. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Schmidt, U., Brown, A., McClelland, J., Glennon, D., & Mountford, V. A. (2016). Will a comprehensive, person-centered, team-based early intervention approach to first episode illness improve outcomes in eating disorders? International Journal of Eating Disorders, 49(4), 374–377.