Should Kids Be Warned About the Dangers of Obesity?
Two experts offer contrary opinions on whether schools should focus on body weight
For this reason, we need to put far less emphasis on weight and far more emphasis on overall health. Parents should avoid making weight-related comments and instead spend more time creating a healthful environment at home. In other words, they should do more and talk less. My advice: Banish TV from the bedrooms and soda from the fridge; go for a bike ride or run if you want your kids to value physical fitness; plan family dinners to show them a well-balanced meal and appropriate portion sizes.
After all, studies have shown that the most effective school interventions focus on behavioral changes rather than weight changes. While we certainly can't afford to ignore the problem of obesity, we have a long way to go in developing messages and solutions that work for addressing the full range of problems from excess body weight to dangerous dieting behaviors to eating disorders.
Bottom line: Both experts agree that children need to be educated on choosing appropriate foods and incorporating an adequate amount of activity into their day. But this should be done with the emphasis on maintaining good health, rather than on avoiding excess body fat.