First lady announces new website to help students exercise

Imagine students learning their ABCs while dancing, or memorizing multiplication tables while doing jumping jacks.

Some schools are using both methods of instruction, and Michelle Obama would like to see more of them use creative ways to help their students get the recommended hour of daily exercise they need.

As part of her “Let’s Move” program, a three-year-old campaign against childhood obesity, Mrs. Obama has announced a new website where school officials can sign up to get started.…Read More

Parents outraged over school program that tracks kids’ weight

A plan to track middle school students’ weight has some Naperville, Ill., parents up in arms. Part of the physical education program in Naperville District 203 asks junior high school students to weigh in and record the results, prompting objections from parents who say the choice to opt out of the decade-old program is not enough, the Huffington Post reports.

“I said, ‘You are creating a generation of eating disorders. You should focus on wellness, not weight,” Karen Smith, the mother of a sixth-grade student, told the Naperville Sun. “Here’s the problem with optional: You create that drama with weighing.”

School officials say students can weigh themselves at home, or simply leave the weight space blank on the fitness card, which factors in other measures, including strength, endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular health……Read More

Obese American children outgrowing school desks

Schools across the country are pioneering big changes in the classroom–to accomodate the 17 percent of U.S. children who are overweight or
obese, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Huffington Post reports. Schools have started to provide separate chairs and desks for the increasing number of students who cannot fit into regularschool desks, CNN reports, and the manufacturers of the school furniture have begun increasing the size of the desks and chairs for future students. The figure for overweight or obese children in the U.S. has tripled from just one generation ago, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I was so large, I couldn’t fit in there,” 19-year-old Taylor LeBaron told CNN about his school experience. “I couldn’t get my legs to fit underneath the desk or my stomach to fit between the chair without getting the desk stuck with me.”

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School bans sweets to fight childhood obesity

Five-year-olds dance hip-hop to the alphabet. Third-graders learn math by twisting into geometric shapes, fifth-graders by calculating calories. And everyone goes to the gym–every day, the Associated Press reports. In the middle of America’s heartland, a small public school, Northeast Elementary Magnet School, has taken on a hefty task–reversing obesity. And it’s won a gold medal for it, becoming the first elementary school in the country to receive that award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The cafeteria here serves fresh fruit and veggies, low-fat or no-fat milk, no sodas or fried foods and no gooey desserts. There are no sweets on kids’ birthdays and food is never used as a reward…

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A federal effort to push junk food out of schools

The Obama administration will begin a drive this week to expel Pepsi, French fries, and Snickers bars from the nation’s schools in hopes of reducing the number of children who get fat during their school years, reports the New York Times. In legislation soon to be introduced, candy and sugary beverages would be banned and many schools would be required to offer more nutritious fare. To that end, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver a speech Feb. 8 at the National Press Club in which he will insist, according to excerpts provided to the Times, that any vending machines that remain in schools be “filled with nutritious offerings to make the healthy choice the easy choice for our nation’s children.” But Republican support for the initiative is far from certain, with many Republicans saying they will wait to see legislation before signaling whether they would put aside long-held views that local school boards should control food offerings…

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