The Institute of Medicine is calling on schools to do more to combat the growing trend of overweight children. Joe Fontenot, a physical education teacher in the Marion Independent School District, has changed his curriculum in response to Francis Marion Intermediate’s 30% obesity rate.
He’s set up a room where fourth and fifth-graders play active video games; everything from the Wii, to Dance Dance Revolution, to a climbing wall. “Any kind of visual stimulation, sensory, that’s what they want and that’s how they learn the best,” Fontenot said. New U.S.D.A. dietary guidelines regulate all schools must change their lunch menus with larger portion sizes for vegetables, fruits and grains.
Amy Hutcheson is a PE teacher at Linn-Mar’s Indian Creek Middle School. “It’s not as many portions, it’s healthier foods, not as many cookies and the sugary things are going away,” Hutcheson said. In addition to fewer fatty foods, more emphasis is being placed on exercise at Indian Creek Middle School.
“Children are not allowed to stay inside and work on homework during recess time, they need to get out and they need to play,” Hutcheson said. Beth Beckett, a dietitian at St. Luke’s Hospital, agrees kids should be active and eating right at school, but she believes changes need to start in the home.
“We’re just becoming a little more inactive and it’s really catching up with us,” Beckett said “Kids do notice what they’re parents eat, how they eat and how much their parents eat.” A new study from the Institute of Medicine claims two-thirds of U.S. adults and one third of kids are either overweight or obese.
By Nadia Crow, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids