Kids and Health: The Decline of Good Nutrition and Fitness Programs in Schools
Kids: Get them Moving & Eating Healthier. They will Learn More. Guaranteed!
During my training as a CrossFit Kids coach, we really dived into how much research is available regarding how exercise and physical fitness helps kids learn. Getting kids to move throughout their day is vital to their learning. So when I hear about schools cutting or lessening recess and gym time in schools it makes no sense at all. it’s PROVEN that having kids move will help them learn, which is why they are at school in the first place. We want them to do better, learn what they are supposed learn, develop the important skills to help them succeed in life. We know that the two biggest health threats to our kids today are Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity – and we know that both can be lessened and managed with proper diet and exercise –but yet we don’t put an emphasis on either of these in our schools. It’s the #thingsthatmakeyousayhmmm….
Here are some articles that go into some of the harm that comes out of cutting recess and gym time:
- Decline of Physical Activity
- Despite Obesity Concerns, Gym Classes Are Cut
- What Ever Happened to Gym Class? Budget Cuts and the Rise of Childhood Obesity
They are starting to make changes in the lunch offerings at the schools — but there is no concerted national effort to really make changes. When I do a Google search, I see articles about specific schools pushing through changes but nothing that sweeps the nation. From time to time, I meet my kids for lunch at their cafeteria and man –what they call a salad – iceberg lettuce, a few shreds of lettuce and maybe, a non-appetizing tomato. That’s a salad!?? In the tinest bowl and of course rich, high fat, high caloric dressings available in abundance.
Both my kids bring their lunch — Nate is gluten free so I really don’t have a choice and HB prefers what I offer. Its not strict Paleo but it’s definitely healthier than what they can get there.
Reading this article about food workers attending the School Nutrition Association conference in Denver this summer — they offer some good tips and advice.
A Colorado State University professor studied the dining habits of kids in Loveland, with an eye toward measuring ways to get them to choose healthier foods. Leslie Cunningham-Sabo, who photographed “before” and “after” pictures of kids’ lunch trays, found that kids eat more fruits and vegetables if they have lunch after recess, instead of before recess. She found that corn consumption went up when generic “corn” labels were replaced with colorful cards describing the vegetable as “mellow yellow corn.”
“Don’t put veggies in opaque containers or give them boring labels like ‘corn,’” Cunningham-Sabo told the lunch workers, showing diagrams of how to lay out a service line to encourage trips to the salad bar.
Another trick — just like supermarkets place impulse buys like candy and chewing gum by the checkout, lunch lines should place easy-to-grab fruits and veggies by their own cash registers. Her study saw cafeterias double their sales of fresh fruit when they placed it colorful bowls in a convenient place.
Think about the local school cafeterias – they certainly don’t spend a lot of time on presentation or marketing. Kids love marketing –hence it’s a multi-billion dollar industry and our kids want that sugary cereal or latest toy that breaks weeks after you buy it. If you make an effort, it shows. Those cafeteria’s don’t scream Fun to me!
Whenever we go to a potluck or party, without fail –the stuff that is eaten & finished first is the homemade food. People appreciate that it was made and not store bought. A little effort goes a long way and our kids’ nutrition and health is more than worth the effort.
Here are some related articles to get you thinking about ways to approach this with your own kids:
- Rethinking The Kid-Veggie Relationship
- Why school lunch gets some kids sick
- Healthier lunches for Brockton-area students, but what’s the cost?
- Healthier Lunches Will be Part of Back to School This Year
My workout this AM was about Sumo Deadlift High Pulls! Some people love em, some don’t. I’m in the middle — when I have my form great, they are great! I had a lot of issues with catching my breath this morning. This humid air is killing my lungs!
- 800m jog
- Shuttle Run
- 10 Pass Thrus x2
- 10 Good Mornings x2
- SDHP (65#)
5:54 – I had to stop and breathe more than I would have liked!
- 50 reasons to Exercise
- Getting Back On The Horse
- How Bad Do You Want It?
- Allowing Kids to be Sedentary is Asking for Trouble
- Resources to Start your Paleo Journey
- Saturday Ramblings from Suburbia
- Explaining Cancer to Kids
- CrossFit Kids is the Way!
- Girl Scouts vs. Health and Fitness
- Kids are Getting Fatter!