The jury is still out on this issue. I personally think that the schools hand districts have a hand in this issue. Especially when the opportunities for exercise have been reduced.
Schools not Blamed for Childhood Obesity
By Vivian Richardson, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent
ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Soda machines in schools may not be the big villains in the childhood obesity epidemic. In fact, new research suggests schools in the United States are doing more to keep kids healthy than make them fat.
Researchers from Ohio State University in Columbus report children gain more weight during the summer, when they are not in school, than they do during the school year. Research statistician Paul von Hippel, Ph.D., told Ivanhoe the results are revealing. "That suggested the primary causes of childhood obesity are not in a school environment. They're elsewhere," Dr. von Hippel said.
Unstructured time during the holidays could be behind the summertime bulge. Dr. von Hippel said previous studies suggest people tend to eat less and be more active when work or school regiments their time. It's easier for children to be healthier during the school day than it is at home. "They have ample opportunities to exercise and they have limited opportunities to eat. That's very difficult to emulate outside of the school environment," he said.
"Schools should get a lot of credit for the relatively healthy environment they provide," Dr. von Hippel said, though he explained there is a downside to these findings. "It also suggests that policies aimed at improving the school environment are going to have limited effectiveness."
Instead, Dr. von Hippel and his colleagues conclude schools can play a part in reducing the childhood obesity epidemic by teaching children to make healthier choices on their own. "We need to think about things that are going to change their behaviors after the bell rings," Dr. von Hippel said.
This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, which offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, click on: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.
SOURCE: Ivanhoe interview with Paul von Hippel, Ph.D.; American Journal of Public Health, published online Feb. 28, 2007