Childhood Obesity

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According to a 2010 report by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past thirty years. As well as having an impact on health, studies have cited a relationship between obesity and poor school performance as well as a child’s readiness for learning and education. This can be correlated with studies finding “obese children have a greater risk of social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem” (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, para. 2). It has also been documented that obese children miss more days from school than the general student population and “many will lack the energy to sustain the concentration needed to process new information” (Yaussi, 2005, p. 106).

Poor nutritional habits have been identified as one of many contributing factors to the increase in childhood obesity. While a multi-disciplinary approach involving family, teachers, medical care providers and the community is desirable, schools, particularly teachers, are in a unique position to play a major role in the education of children and adolescents about nutrition and the prevention of obesity. “Schools are important settings to implement prevention and intervention due to their access, duration of exposure, and subsequent impact on the behavior of children and adolescents” (Pyle, Sharkey, Yetter, Felix, Furlong, & Poston, 2006, p. 372). The challenge of schools, then, is to design and effectively implement a successful curriculum incorporating traditional lecture style, core information with the learning styles and technology skills of today’s 21st century learners, the Net Generation.

Twenty-first century learners are digital learne...

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Skinner, H., Biscope, S., Poland, B., & Goldberg, E. (2003). How Adolescents Use Technology for Health Information: Implications for Health Professionals from Focus Group Studies. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 5(4).

Taras, H., & Potts-Datema, W. (2005). Obesity and Student Performance at School. Journal of School Health, 75(8), 291.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Healthy Youth!. Retrieved March 20, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/obesity/.

Thornburg, R., & Hill, K. (2004). Using Internet Assessment Tools for Health and Physical Education Instruction. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 48(6), 53-55.

Yaussi, S. (2005). The Obesity Epidemic: How Non-PE Teachers Can Improve the Health of Their Students. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 79105-108.

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