Preventing Obesity Within Schools

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Physical activity is seen as an important and essential part of a child’s life (Rivkin, 2000). With the increasing prevalence of overweight children, and the decline in physical activity (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2010) there is justifiably a concern about the relationship of these to obesity. Research suggests that the benefits of physical activity during middle childhood are multifaceted. Goran, Reynolds & Lindquist (1999, p. 18) conceptualises that is not merely a means of increasing levels of fitness, but a foundation in promoting healthy lifestyle patterns and psycho-social well-being. As teachers generally recognise that their role extends beyond being an information dispenser (Harden & Crosby, 2000), there are practical strategies that can be implemented in facilitating children to build on the concept of health. Although, as the levels of childhood obesity continue to rise, it may be argued that there is no current consensus about what role government, parents, society and teachers currently play in addressing and preventing obesity. This essay seeks to address the benefits of physical activity in middle childhood, and the strategies teachers can implement in promoting self-awareness in healthy lifestyle choices. Middle childhood, for many children, is a time where skills learned from earlier experiences are refined and tested within new challenges (Craig & Baucum, 2002, p. 316). Additionally, with an increase in solidification of valuable neurological circuits, there is an enhanced and sustained ability to learn. Also, a more sophisticated approach is displayed towards decision making, planning and problem solving. Socially; friendships become more powerful and significant as dependence on parents shifts to peers. This coinci... ... middle of paper ... ...ent of movement co-ordination in children: Applications in the field of ergonomics, health sciences and sport (pp. 192). London: Routledge. The Heart Foundation. (2011). Sitting less for children Retrieved 23/03/2011, from http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/ HW_PA_SittingLess_Child_INFC_FINAL.pdf Thomas, K., Lee, A., & Thomas, J. (2008). Physical education methods for elementary teachers (3rd ed.). United States Of America: Sheridan Books. Venn, A., Thomson, R., Schmidt, M., Cleland, V., Curry, B., Gennat, H., & Dwyer, T. (2007). Overweight and obesity from childhood to adulthood: a follow-up of participants in the 1985 Australian schools health and fitness survey. Medical Journal of Australia, 186(9), 458–460. Waite-Stupainsky, S., & Findlay, M. (2001). The fourth R: Recess and its link to learning. The Educational Forum, 66(1).

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