January 10, 2012
Alberto M. Carvalho
Miami-Dade County Public School Board Superintendent
1450 N.E. Second Avenue, Suite 931
Miami, Florida 33132
Dear Mr. Alberto M. Carvalho:
I have been concerned with what is happening to our children these last few years. Childhood obesity is becoming more prominent and should be on your priority list. I am currently a Registered Nurse enrolled in the University of Phoenix to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. I have become more aware of my community and through different assessment in the assignments; I have had the chance to identify some of the different characteristics within my community that could adversely affect the health of ...view middle of the document...
According to "Obesity in Children and Teens" (2010), “The problem of childhood obesity in the United States has grown considerably in recent years. Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese. Obesity is among the easiest medical conditions to recognize but most difficult to treat. Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year. The annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion. Children, who are overweight, have greater chances of to become overweight adults. Unless they adopt and maintain healthier patterns of eating and exercise” (1).
Buying lunch at school may be the first time children get to call the shots on which foods they'll eat. School lunches have improved in the food choices given to our children, they offer choices loved by our kids both taste and nutrition. School cafeteria still should choose a healthier mix of foods, available a la carte or in the vending machine, such as fruits and whole snacks and yogurts. The addition of the a-la carte some of the students may choose from the menu that meets the dietary guidelines. Through my research, it has been found that children are not born obese. Obesity is due to one or more different causes such as by medical disorders, but it is mostly due to poor eating habits, lack of exercise, genetics, and learned behaviors. A child will instinctively pick what they like to eat, rather than what is good for them. Combine poor food choices with the lack knowledge that a child will eat until they are full or overstuffed. Experts agree that 30 minutes of physical activity every day is the minimum that a child needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle (American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 2009.
Obesity tends to run in families, implying that family share a genetic link and tend to also learn habits and lifestyles from each other (American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 2009). They also learn emotional eating from friends and family. They will turn to comfort food such as candy, cookies, ice cream or chips are usually the food of choice for most kids. Many desire to look like other and turn to food for emotional support. Children recognize the fact that nutrition and health go hand in hand, but training them to make healthy choices is a greater concern. But without our help to instruct them and guide them, I fear childhood obesity will soon be out of control from the majority of children in our community.
There are actions that can be taken within the school system to help promote healthy eating habits and prevent childhood obesity. One of the primary interventions is to intervene and prevent the future problems of childhood obesity. If we increase physical activity and provide more education on healthy food choices and make this a required elective in a health education classes along the side of an added exercise class, we will be taking an active role in...