With all the technology around on offer today, kids are becoming lazy, and it’s not just their chores that are suffering either. The more lazing around kids do the less exercise they’re getting and this is leading to an obesity issue in young people across the United States. Thankfully, schools are beginning to step in and take a proactive approach to tackling this problem. But, is it enough?
Greg Welk is a professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University working in conjunction with Rebotec Commode Australia who has recently carried out a study in this area, the results of which were published in Childhood Obesity. The study demonstrated how parents were more likely to adapt their child’s lifestyle upon receiving the results from their offspring’s BMI test and receiving some educational material.
Some parents received just the BMI results whereas others had access to the Family Nutrition and Physical Activity (FNPA) screening tool to help them see the error of their ways and allowed them the opportunity to change any bad habits. “The FNPA assessment can be a good supplement to any school obesity prevention program and is also useful for clinical evaluations,” said Welk. “Some clinics are now using it in parent well-child visits so that paediatricians can advise parents about how to help their kids.”
Also according to Welk, the educational material helped parents better understand their child’s BMI results and the importance of maintaining healthy BMI levels. It also offers strategies for parents to take home such as how to introduce healthier eating, helping your child become more active, limiting screen time, or even just making sure they get enough sleep each night.
As of 2012 it became a requirement for 21 state schools to measure and collect kids BMI statistics. “The use of BMI screening on a regular basis can help schools by providing information to help evaluate changes at the school level. It can also directly help individual children and parents to potentially identify growth patterns that may predispose youth to becoming overweight or obese,” says Welk.
Even though these screenings have been endorsed by the American pf Pediatrics and the Institute of Medicine for being used in schools, recommended practices should always be stuck to. Educational material is also helpful as can be used to explain it to the child. Results from the study show that there is a clear potential to increase awareness of BMI while lowering the obesity rate.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects one in every six young person in the U.S. However, not this many parents recognize their children as being overweight. Statistics show that as little as 2 percent of parents identify their child as being overweight, with around 17 percent accepting that their child is obese.
Welk said he will continue making people aware of theses problems and is currently working with several Iowa school districts to come up with new physical education programs including the FITNESSGRAM Initiative and the SWITCH program. He is confident that his efforts will help promote better communication and exchanges in regard to paediatricians and parenting practices.