Friday, August 30, 2019

Physical Education and Nutrition Legislation Essay

In order to make the younger generation capable enough to face the upcoming challenges in sports and physical involvement in extra curricular activities, there is a need to think seriously about the growing trend of eating disorders due to obesity and lack of physical education. Measures have been taken, steps forwarded but still obesity is the main cause for which over 15 percent adolescents aged 12 to 19 and at present 10 percent of kids aged 2 to 6 have been found overweight or underweight. According to NASBE (National Association of State Boards of Education) learning must be based upon healthy environment and surrounding for which school cafeterias, sports programs and community involvement is responsible. Parents’ Concern about being â€Å"Overweight† Surveys that try to gauge the level of parental concern about childhood obesity reveal a mixed picture about the degree to which parents are concerned about their kids’ weight. Concern certainly exists, but many parents simply do not consider weight among the top challenges facing kids. When asked from the parents, â€Å"How concerned are you about your child’s weight? † 15 percent of the 1,500 parents in a nationwide survey in 2000 said â€Å"very† while 15 percent said â€Å"somewhat†. Because nearly 30 percent of children are overweight or at risk for it, the concern of these parents roughly matches the reported national prevalence of overweight children. What’s more, those who answered â€Å"very† or â€Å"somewhat† spanned all income levels; nearly 40 percent earned less than $30,000 annually, 46 percent were middle-income earners, and 14 percent earned above $75,000. Yet all parents especially low-income viewed other risks to their child’s long-term health and quality of life as more pressing. Only 5 percent of the people in the same survey identified being overweight as the greatest risk to their child’s health and quality of life. How Children view their weight Teenagers perceive their weight inaccurately as well even more so than their parents do. A national study in 2000 involving more than 15,000 adolescents looked at the accuracy of teen and parental reports of obesity. It found that 44 percent of the overweight teenage children and their parents did not accurately report them to be overweight. Only 20 percent of both the teens and parents accurately reported that the teen was overweight while 30 percent of the parents, but not their teenage child, accurately recognized the teen as overweight. In the same study it was revealed that among adolescents with obesity, 47 percent reported that they were overweight. (Dalton, 2004, p. 34) As for younger children, plenty of evidence shows that they are aware of social standards for size and shape by age three or four. Many already judge body size as good or bad in kindergarten, whether a child applies these notions of â€Å"good† and â€Å"bad† to his or her own body size that early is questionable. When friendships begin to form, body size may be a factor, like other characteristics that distinguish one child from another as reasons for friendship or for discrimination. But above all, it is the â€Å"overweight† and careless attitude towards obesity which causes many diseases even in children like cholesterol, eating disorders, diabetes, depression etc. Causes Overeating, irregular meals, lack of physical movement and short of having proper sports activity is a major cause of the obesity epidemic. Teaching overweight children to eat less and work more therefore is essential. But modifying behavior is no simple task, and eating too much is not the sole cause of obesity. Other factors play a role and must be well understood in order to reverse the epidemic and produce a healthier generation of children. Children are sensitive enough to feel the difference between regular meals and daily timings. The daily schedules usually determine what time we consume these meals each day, and we learn to associate the eating experience with that particular time. If mealtime is earlier or later than usual, some of our body functions that depend on circadian rhythms can be temporarily disturbed and cause irritability or fatigue, as in the state known as â€Å"jet lag†. For a kindergarten child whose biologic clock has taught him that school lunch is always served at 11:48 A. M. , a delay of 45 minutes can be catastrophic. (Smith, 1999, p. 40) The government and medical community have minimized the possible differences by establishing guidelines to indicate when a child is â€Å"overweight† and when an adult is â€Å"obese†, however the main notion is to classify and consider obesity as a disease among children in America. If it were a disease, then almost everyone would agree that finding a cure for a disease affecting one out of three children should be a national priority. Yet there is heated controversy over its status that depicts various positions of several key agencies and groups which are summarized below. National Institutes of Health: Obesity is a disease with enormous negative effects on health and survival; also, health-care costs for treating diseases caused by obesity are estimated at $100 billion a year. American Obesity Association: Obesity is a disease; insurance plans should cover weight management services and tax deductions should be given for the costs of obesity treatments, as they are allowed for smoking cessation treatments. American Dietetic Association: Obesity should be classified as a disease; it is a significant risk factor for poor health. The goal of obesity interventions is health improvement that should be measured in terms of heart and lung performance, rates of admission to hospitals, and reduction in medication use. (Dausch, 2001) National Association for Acceptance of Fat People: It is not necessary that fat people always suffer from a disease as it is not their weight that causes problems, but society’s discrimination against fat people. They can do the same jobs and have the same abilities as thin people despite pervasive stereotypes to the contrary. (Solovay, 2000) Physical activity Matters! Young children who see their parents engaging in physical labor or regular exercise programs are likely to follow their examples. According to study children who are fostered by active parents (engaged in physical exercise) are 5. – 6 times more active than if both parents were inactive, but the dilemma is that generations are getting inactive. So there is no concept of â€Å"active parents†. Some children, particularly those in low-income families, have less opportunity for physical activity; therefore there is still a need for the Government must to take appropriate measures for such children. Children living in unsafe or unreliable neighborhoods, for example, may not be able to play outside after they come home from school. (Smith, 1999, p. 71) As children get older, they become much less likely to engage in regular and vigorous exercise for reasons including increased academic, work, and social commitments or school situations such as lack of physical education classes due to insufficient funds or substitution of nonphysical activities (for example, classroom or study hall sessions) for physical ones. Schools also may place greater emphasis on academic achievement than on physical activity or fitness, and may delegate responsibility for physical development to families. But just like food concern, often parents do not realize the importance of physical exercise to their children’s well-being, as well as to their own. Other families may recognize the value of regular exercise, but feel helpless to create community or school programs that guarantee it. While there is some evidence that pilot studies in schools can make a small difference in children’s activity levels, there have been few reports of widespread adoption of health education curricula by school districts to extend the benefits of physical activity to all who are enrolled. In this context schools have often been a victim of critique which Hiatt & Klerman (2002) quotes in the following words: â€Å"On the one hand, healthy living habits may be taught in the classroom, while at the same time students are served fat-laden meals or placed in physical education programs which may stress competitive sports rather than participation based on the student’s developmental stage†. (Hiatt & Klerman, 2002, p. 6) In some U. S. chools emphasis is placed on winning at games rather than on the physical development of all students, therefore, only those who are the best at physical activities are selected for sports competition, leaving the rest of the average students behind. School Meals Initiative The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) which was established in 1946 by the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) requires from the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (USDA-FNS) to review each state regularly in context with the nutritional content of food served by each School Food Authority (SFA) as part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The legislation is intended to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities and other food, thereby working along the U. S government and providing help in granting-in-aids and all other means. The legislation is also aimed at providing adequate supply of fresh foods including vegetables and fruits for maintaining and operating nonprofit school lunch programs. (NSLP, 2007a) Through subsequent amendments and increased funding, the program has expanded to 95,000 public and private schools and residential child care institutions. More than 26 million children receive free or reduced-price lunches every day and according to a rough estimation 92 percent of schoolchildren in the United States are in schools with lunch programs, and about 58 percent participate in the program on an average school day. NSLP has helped in working in collaboration of legislation, thereby protecting and safeguarding the health and well-being of the Nation’s children, (NSLP, 2007b) since 1996, when the program’s nutritional focus was on broad food groups and total calories. In those fifty years, the nutritional status of Americans and scientific understanding of proper nutrition and a balanced diet both changed. These changes were reflected in a series of Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) beginning in 1980 and most recently in 1995. The 1990 DGA and the Food Pyramid that was developed to publicize them reflected significant changes in the content of the guidelines which were more positive; more goal oriented towards the total diet, and provided more specific information regarding food selection, particularly among young school generation. 1992 was the year when School Nutrition Dietary Assessment (SNDA) started a concern about the content of school meals and their role in promoting the nutrition of children by initiating school meals research. Therefore it was revealed on SNDA that many school meals did not meet the then-current 1990 DGA. The study showed that the average school lunch had 27 percent more calories from fat, twice as much as sodium, and 50 percent more calories from saturated fat than the recommendations. In addition, SNDA found that children who ate local school lunch bought from cafeterias were consuming significantly higher numbers of calories from fat than children who obtained their lunches from other sources like home. (Hiatt & Klerman, 2002, p. 3) Legislation Enacted Recently, Arkansas in context with the legislative overview (2005) created a comprehensive program to combat childhood obesity, thereby increasing awareness among nutritional foods and factors. The provisions included conducting and maintaining regular annual BMI screenings for all public school children with results directly reported to the parents so that the results could be discussed in context with the advisory committees in parent teacher meetings. The provision also imposed restriction on any king of vending in elementary schools along with the disclosure of contracts with local food companies. Beverages (like cold drinks) were also banned other than milk, juice or water. The provision therefore aimed at establishing a Child Health Advisory Committee to update the parents’ and local bodies about the nutrition standards for elementary schools. (James, 2005) The NSLP authorizing legislation proposed computerized nutrient analysis to verify that the proposed menu was in compliance with the DGA. If trial menus were not in compliance, SFAs could iteratively make adjustments to the trial menu until it was in compliance. The proposed rule recognized that not all SFAs would have the capability to do nutrient analysis and therefore provided for a variation on this system. That variation, called Assisted NuMenus, allowed the SFA to have a third party perform the nutrient analysis. Finally, the proposed regulation required the state agencies to assess the nutrient analyses being performed by the SFAs and to take appropriate actions if either the analyses were not being performed correctly or the meals were not in compliance with the DGA. Thus, through NuMenus or Assisted NuMenus, the proposed rule included a mechanism through which school meals could plausibly be expected to be in compliance with the DGA by the 1998–1999 school year. However, before the rule could be finalized, PL 103-448, the Healthy Meals for Healthy Americans Act of 1994, was passed. (Hiatt & Klerman, 2002, p. 5) Responding to widespread complaints about the burden of nutrient analysis, the legislation instructed USDA to allow SFAs to continue using a food-based system of menu planning, in addition to NuMenus or Assisted NuMenus. The legislation also required that school meals be in compliance with the nutrient requirements by the 1996–1997 school year (two years earlier than under the proposed rule), however, since the legislation allowed menu planning systems that did not automatically involve nutrient analysis, there was no direct mechanism through which food-based SFAs could be expected to verify that their meals were indeed in compliance with the DGA. On January 27, 1995, USDA published a revised proposed rule which supplemented the June 10, 1994 proposed rule. It incorporated the shorter timeline and the inclusion of food-based menu planning systems from PL 103-448. In the January rule, USDA proposed a food-based system, called Enhanced Food-Based menu planning, that was very similar to the previous food-based system. However, the only difference between the two was the inclusion of more fruits and vegetables to school meals. To implement the requirement that NLSP meals meet the DGA, but in the absence of a requirement that every SFA perform a computerized nutrient analysis for every menu, the revised proposed regulation required each State Agency to monitor those SFAs using food-based systems. That monitoring was to consist of a nutrient analysis of each SFA at least every five years. (Hiatt & Klerman, 2002, p. 6) In May 1996, Congress enacted the Healthy Meals for Children Act (PL 104-149), which added two additional menu planning systems the system that had been in place since 1946 (Traditional Food-Based) and another called â€Å"Any Reasonable Approach†. (Smith, 1999, p. 65) Under the latter option, states could develop their own menu planning system as long as it met the requirements laid out by FNS for school meals and nutrition. Since the final regulations allowed for five different menu planning systems, several of which did not include having the SFA perform nutrient analysis, it required much more work for the State Agency than the June 1994 version of the rule would have. While the final rule and the mandates under the Healthy Meals for Children Act allowed the SFAs more flexibility, they also gave the SFAs the opportunity to choose menu planning systems that did not require them to perform their own analyses. Therefore, the states were required to put a system in place that would allow state staff or contractors to perform the analyses. Therefore, in 2004 Illinois started conducting analyses along with the contribution of State Department of Health to conduct mandatory health exam for students. In 2005 legislation was officially followed by West Virginia, Tennessee, and New York enacted legislation requiring student BMI reports. (July 11, 2005) Still there is lot of involvement required by the government at elementary schooling level which may directly or indirectly help prevent obesity. In this context governments can provide funds for obesity related research and education, can present facts about obesity to the public through publications and other media initiatives, can better recognize the proper development of American youth by placing increased emphasis on school physical education programs, and can help create incentives for the private sector, such as the food industry, to use the Dietary Guidelines and thus contribute to the better health of Americans. Above all government can help legislation to reshape the guidelines to help with our newer generation.

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