Combating Childhood Obesity in the Granite State

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Progress or lack thereof in schools

I'm from Portsmouth and have tried to work from within the system (Wellness Committees/Step It Up Seacoast) for many years, but our local schools still regularly use food/candy as rewards, allow sweets-filled birthday and holiday celebrations, have physical education once a week, and are very slow at making changes to the school lunch program. Must we wait for a federal mandate or can we start making changes now in our local schools? Do you have any recommendations?

International House of Obesity

My daughter posted this to my Facebook page, just above the link to NHPR's story on obesity in children. Can you say "juxtaposition"?

http://www.grist.org/article/2010-04-28-ihop-stacks-up-to-double-down-co...

Ahhh, the irony. JR

I am a parents right advocate

I am a parents right advocate in NH. Working with families I have noted that NH's extremely high obesity rate is directly related to NH Grandparent's Rights Laws. In states where simuliar laws have been struct down as being unconstitutional under state and federal constitutions and parents are free to make decisions concerning their care, nurture, associations, etc., most children are physically fit. In NH, where more and more Judges and Grandparents are making parental decisions, more and more children are becoming obese. This is a fact and poses a national security risk recognized by the Pentagon.

Outdoor learning and free play

This program included alot of valuable discussion about food consumption (especially good to hear from the Farm to Schools folks). It's worth remembering that outdoor activity is a key, too. Plenty of research (see www.childrenandnature.org) supports the value of outdoor free play to increasing fitness and reducing obesity. Terry J mentioned Safe Routes to School, to facilitate kids walking and biking. School recess is crucial not only to fitness but to learning (increased muscle activity and blood flow = more oxygen to the brain). NH schools are also integrating field investigations with their curriculum, which supports the science frameworks, improves test scores, and gets kids outdoors. Check out "May We Do Science" (http://nhee.org/getoutside.html) for outdoor learning activities connected to the May science testing dates. There's a 20 minute challenge for parents and kids, too. This helps us think about all the ways during our day we can be active outdoors.