The American Medical Association thinks they have the answer on how to solve childhood obesity: Simply tell kids not to get fat. They want to provide mandatory classroom instruction about obesity, but making kids sit through another boring lecture won’t solve anything. Here’s why.
In a proposed new legislation, the AMA wants to require yearly instruction at public schools that would focus on instructing kids and teens on how to not become overweight. This would include classes in causes, consequences and prevention of obesity for first through 12th graders. Doctors will be encouraged to volunteer their time to help, and this would become part of the school curriculum.
All of which sounds good, but, as any parent can attest to, telling kids to do something is not the answer.
Instead, how about getting to the heart of the matter at school? Many districts are still reducing PE programs, they are still cutting after-school sports programs, and they are still serving crappy, unhealthy lunches. We can tell kids all we want that they need to get healthy, but what opportunities are we giving them to do so at school?
Making kids sit for another minute to listen to this type of instruction won’t solve anything. All kids and teens need to get up, get moving and get more exercise–which, by the way, according to the CDC, should be a full 60 minutes a day. And you know how many kids actually get that amount? Only 26%; meaning, 74% of kids don’t get enough exercise each day. On top of that, 41% of kids get less than an hour of exercise a week. That’s just astonishing.
So let’s not add more instruction and lectures to the schedules of these kids. Part of the solution to solving childhood obesity is to let them exercise more–not simply tell them to.