Friday, July 07, 2006

Weighing In

Students walk our halls holding 16 oz. cans of Monster energy drinks and venti Cinnamon Dolce Lattes in order to make it through the strenuous early hours of public high school and junior high. These same students pack their lunches with half a package of Oreo's and another can of energy drink. Yet at the same time that parents neglect nutrition without accountability, the schools must create a "wellness" plan for their students. Vending machines have changed drastically in the last two years, and hopefully the students are better off for it. But students don't use the vending machines near as much, not when they can stop at the AM PM or 7-11 before school to pick up their fill of whatever junk food they want.
Don't misunderstand, preparing students to make good choices in life is part of what we do, but are we holding the right people accountable? At the very same time that districts are implementing their version of a wellness plan, they are cutting middle and high school sports programs, and decreasing the size of their Physical Education staff--encouraging students to take P.E. online. Elementary students are having their recess time cut out all together, or are banned from any game that involves running or competetition.
When we get down to the crux of the matter, all of these responsibilities being dumped on today's school districts weighs them down. It is not to say that we don't want healthy students, but I thought we were about educating students. It seems that we have taken away the ability to choose, while at the same time teaching them how to make those choices.
I want to know who is responsible for the weight I gained in the last year. Congress isn't passing any bills that force my favorite stop off to create a wellness plan for me. I am responsibile for my choices. I've been taught the dangers of too many grande extra-hot white chocalate mochas, so I switched for the sake of my health to a grande, tw0-pump (1/2 the normal), no-fat, no-whip, extra-hot, white chocalate mocha.
But, wait, I'm an adult and the students are kids. That makes me responsible for my own actions and someone else responsibile for theirs? When individuals are educated, and our students are educated about health from an early age--but really it should be happening at home, they become responsible for their decisions. The answer isn't in taking away the opportunity, it allowing people to deal with the choices they make.


At 4:38 AM , Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

The real problem is that most people don't know how to eat. We are a nation that is abysmally ignorant about nutrition. Don't expect parents to teach their children how to eat properly. If the parent lives on fast food and out of vending machines, so will the kid. Most of the stuff that comes pre-packaged isn't really food anyway. Look at the ingredients: It reads like a Who's Who of chemicals! The best advice I ever read? "Eat something every day that if you planted it, it would grow."

At 7:12 AM , Blogger graycie said...

" . . .I thought we were about educating students."

What, exactly, does it mean "to educate" them? The Three Rs? Nutritional information? Rocket science? Intelligent life-choice making? By whose standards?

This issue is just one of many that is floating in the stew of public ed. (food-related pun only noticed after the fact).

At 6:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

>The real problem is that most people don't know how to eat.<

I asked my nutritionist how much fat a person needs to get thru the day.
She said THREE TEASPOONS (say of olive oil) was all the fat that was needed in a day.
Three teaspoons!!!!


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