- “How many calories are in that?”
- “We should go to Subway instead of Sonic because it’s healthier.”
- “Is this junk food or is it okay to eat?”
- “How many calories did I just burn?”
These are all things my 7 year old routinely says to me, thanks to his PE class.
And it’s been bothering me for a while.
I get that childhood obesity is on the rise and that we need to educate our children to make healthier choices, to eat better, to stay active.
But my children all eat healthy, are so active they barely sit still, and while they are not scrawny, no one would ever call them the least bit chubby.
So it bothers me when my 7 year-old asks how many calories are in a glass of milk. Is he not going to drink it if he doesn’t like the answer?
Or if he thinks he should burn more calories, will he go exercise some more? We don’t even call it exercise here, we call it PLAYING.
I do appreciate the junk food question, as we do talk about what is regular food and what is a special treat(like the Cherry Limeades I have a slight addiction to).
The Subway vs. other fast food places can tick me off pretty fast since it should be about choices instead of restaurants. I’ll take my chances with a small grilled chicken wrap from Sonic over a large meatball sub from Subway, but that’s just me. And besides, the school has a “spirit night” at four different fast food restaurants every. single. month. so what is that teaching? But, I digress.
Healthy habits are easier to continue if started at a young age, yes, true.
But I wish the instruction was focused more on what foods and amounts they should be eating. Not calories, but talking about portions. Give an example of a healthy snack. There are fewer calories in an Airhead candy(regular size) than in an apple, but I’d rather my kids choose the apple. But then again, if they have an Airhead as a special treat while we watch Daddy’s softball game, I’m not freaking out over that, either.
And instead of talking about calories burned, why not talk about the importance of staying active? Let the kids try all different sports and physical activities and see which ones they like. Talk about how much time a day they should be out there doing something.
But with the big push for the schools to take on the problem of childhood obesity, it’s not just up to individual families to decide what we are going to teach our kids about a healthy lifestyle.
The former educator in me is wanting to shout out “The schools need to because some families won’t teach their kids about healthy habits and their kids are at a greater risk for obesity. If the schools can help any of those kids, they need to be doing it.”
While the parent in me gets frustrated and wants to yell “Would you stop having my skinny second grader question how many calories are in the very healthy snack I give him after school?”
I don’t know where the solution is. Or exactly what age different topics should be introduced. I want my kids to be healthy and I think we as a family do a good job at teaching them how to go about it. But is that enough?
What do you think? How much should schools be involved with educating our children about making healthy choices?
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