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Obesity and Weight Management

Obesity in schools

01/18/2005

Question:

How does a school nurse present this info ( such as the BMI results ) without offending the parents who are also very obese and at risk? Often ,I will see 3 generations of obese people in one family? Where do we begin as school nurses attemting to bring these risks to the school community? Surely these folks must know and feel powerles to change their destinies? I have heaard horror stories aboout schools who sent home letters about their students`s obesity and the risks and suggestions for help. These letters hoome prommpted law suits against schools!

Answer:

You've brought up a very sensitive issue. I think I would plan my activities and programs around fitness - 'Fit at Any Size'. Activities and programs that increase fitness tend to also decrease weight in many people. In children, this may mean maintaining weight while gaining height. I'd work with organizations within the school - athletic boosters, music parents, PTO, etc. to implement some of the suggestions of coalitions such as those wanting to change or remove vending machines from the schools. Get with school food service to market 'Fruits and Veggies More Matters' which aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and get the school involved in the 10,000 steps program. It's a part of Shape Up America.  Then, if you are working with individual families I would try working with them on goals attached to the goals that the school has made by becoming involved with these national programs.

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Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University