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Effectiveness Of Anti-Obesity Programs In Schools

By: Cyndi Murray Email
By: Cyndi Murray Email

The whispers anti-obesity programs are causing more harm than good have grown to full blown conversations.

The evidence proving what works and what doesn't work when it comes to keeping children healthy is missing.

"At least 25 percent of children I see cited something they learned in health class that has heighten awareness or body dissatisfaction," Dr. Jennifer Hagman, the Medical Director of the Eating Disorder Program at Children's Hospital in Denver said.

In schools across the country, anti-obesity programs show overweight people in the same light: sitting on the couch eating Doritos, playing video games, seemingly alone.

Dr. Hagman fears this is only causing the opposite effect.

"You don't come away with a balance healthy at every size or eating health and exercise is the best way to stay healthy. It's these dramatic ways of making an impression on kids that backfires," she said.

That doesn't mean, however, schools shouldn't keep trying.

Here in West Virginia where the childhood obesity rate is a whopping 29% officials at Wood County schools are sticking with the traditional approach, shining a spotlight on exercising.

"We need to be able to give them the knowledge and skills they need to last a life time. That might be taking them on a walk and showing them what they have to do to get their heart rate up," said Susan Childeers of the Wood County Board of Education.

The one common goal everyone agrees on is helping students feel good about themselves; no matter what their shape or size.

With that in mind the National Eating Disorder Association launched a new website Proud2Bme.org.

It's the first of its kind, devoted to helping young people bolster their body image and and feel good about themselves.

The site was unveiled this week in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week running from February 26 to March 3.

To help provide support solutions you can download the Body Beautiful app for the iPhone and iPad this week.


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