Pediatric Guidelines - School Health Research Paper

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[. . .] After all, if a person is trying to teach something to a child but that person refuses to model that behavior, it is much harder to convince the child that the behavior is important (Hoyland, Dye, & Lawton, 2009). School employees who eat healthy, are physically active, and are in good shape, are good role models for children who need to acquire the same behaviors to help themselves stay healthy for a long time (Hoyland, Dye, & Lawton, 2009). When schools provide wellness programs for employees they set good examples for both adults and children, and they can also lower their insurance costs because their employees will need less medical care with their new, healthier lifestyles (Hoyland, Dye, & Lawton, 2009). That is an important benefit to the school above and beyond helping the students see the value of healthy eating and physical activity for adults and children alike.

Finally, schools can employ qualified persons, and provide professional development opportunities for physical education, health education, nutrition services, and health, mental health, and social services staff members, as well as staff members who supervise recess, cafeteria time, and out-of-school-time programs (CDC, 2010). Having the right people matters. If a school does not have trained professionals to handle the nutrition and physical activity changes that are being made, along with the mental health and other services that are offered, the program can flounder or even be completely unsuccessful (Freedman, et al., 2007). Naturally, that is something to be avoided and will not be helpful for the children or the school personnel. Even though qualified professionals may cost a bit more, it is very important that they are hired so that the school is not left with an ineffective program that does not provide the kinds of benefits intended (Taras, 2005). These kinds of programs without qualified professionals are generally ineffective and may do more harm than good (Taras, 2005).

Discussion

As can be seen by the guidelines and information presented in the preceding section, a great deal of time, effort, and money goes into school programs in an effort to keep kids healthier (Taras, 2005). Schools often do not have the resources to help every child in the way they would like, but that does not mean they cannot help a number of children as much as possible (Hoyland, Dye, & Lawton, 2009). Children are the future, and they should be cared for. Unfortunately, many families have gotten away from making sure children eat nutritious meals and get plenty of physical activity. As such, children are becoming increasingly overweight and out of shape, contributing to all kinds of health problems for them (Ogden, et al., 2002). Diabetes, heart disease, and other significant health issues are being seen in younger populations today, because of the lack of good diet and exercise that so many people have had since childhood (Ogden, et al., 2002).

This can be avoided in children who are not already unhealthy, and reversed or at least mitigated in children who are already overweight, but only if schools, families, and the community work together to help children understand the value of healthy eating and exercise (Taras, 2005). It is not enough to tell children that they should model these behaviors. If they do not like the food they are offered or do not want to perform a particular exercise, it can be very hard to get them to participate in behaviors even though they would be much healthier by doing so. There are ways to encourage healthy eating and exercise for children, but this has to be done in a way to which they relate. By doing that, schools can encourage children to become healthier and stay that way for a lifetime. Behaviors that are learned and adopted early in life are often those that remain with a person for a very long time, so that is something to carefully consider when planning meals and activities for children (Ogden, et al., 2002).

Schools are not expected to raise children, but they are expected to participate in that raising. They do the children in their care a disservice when they only teach them from textbooks so they can pass tests, and do not teach them about life and the world around them, as well. There may be many things of interest to a child, but if he or she is not healthy and active, many of those interests cannot be enjoyed (Taras, 2005). With that in mind, schools, communities, and parents should work together to provide many healthy eating and exercise opportunities to children. These children should also be taught the value of these activities in a way they can understand and that is appropriate for their age and maturity level. Depending on the child, there are many different approaches that can be taken and used successfully to get that child interested in healthy eating and physical activity.

Conclusion

The obesity epidemic in children is becoming a serious problem for the country. Children who should be outside running and playing with their friends are inside on the couch, playing video games for hours. That is not to say that video games are bad or should always be avoided, but only that there should be moderation and balance for children who are growing and developing. They need a lot of physical activity, but they are not getting what they need. Placing blame on the children, the parents, the school system, or society at large is not valuable, because it does nothing to correct the problem. Rather than placing blame of any kind, the focus should be on finding ways to address and correct the issue. That can be done with initiatives that get children excited about being active and eating healthy. It can be difficult to force a child to do something, and can lead to resentment. Instead of forcing kids to do what they "should" in order t be healthier, the behaviors must be something the children want to do because they see the value and/or the fun in it.

Professionals who work with children in the health and nutrition fields have ways of making healthy eating and physical activity fun for most children, and these professionals can and should be hired to work with schools in order to lower the rates of childhood obesity and encourage children to be healthier. When that is coupled with parents and the community modeling proper behaviors in these areas, children are much more likely to focus their efforts on those same behaviors. Once learned and adopted at a young age, those same behaviors will likely remain with the child throughout his or her life. That can help that child grow up healthy and active, and can reduce the risk that he or she will develop a serious health ailment like diabetes or heart disease later, especially at a younger age or as a direct result of obesity or a sedentary lifestyle.

References

CDC. (2010). The Association Between School-Based Physical Activity, Including Physical Education, and Academic Performance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Daniels SR, Arnett D, Eckel R, et al. (2005). Overweight in children and adolescents: pathophysiology, consequences, prevention, and treatment. Circulation, 111(15): 1999 -- 2012.

Freedman DS, Mei Z, Srinivasan SR, Berenson GS, & Dietz WH. (2007). Cardiovascular risk factors and excess adiposity among overweight children and adolescents: the Bogalusa Heart Study. Journal of Pediatrics, 150(1):12 -- 17.

Healthy People 2020 (2010). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Rockville, MD. Report No. B0132.

Hoyland A, Dye L, & Lawton… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Pediatric Guidelines - School Health.  (2013, October 16).  Retrieved February 23, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/pediatric-guidelines-school-health/3056722

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"Pediatric Guidelines - School Health."  Essaytown.com.  October 16, 2013.  Accessed February 23, 2019.
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