Presentation on theme: "Tanya L. Morris In 2003, Governor Mike Huckabee implemented Arkansas Act 1220 in an effort to curb the childhood obesity epidemic. Arkansas Act 1220."— Presentation transcript:
In 2003, Governor Mike Huckabee implemented Arkansas Act 1220 in an effort to curb the childhood obesity epidemic. Arkansas Act 1220 is legislation requiring mandatory BMI assessment of all public school students. These assessments are conducted on the even years (2,4,6,8,and 10) although beginning in students’ kindergarten year.
Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.1, 2 In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. The above information was gathered from the following website http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.html
The school setting yields the greatest opportunity to assess and gather information needed for statistical and analytical purposes. School setting provides access to students for the majority of the day in which these BMI assessments can be conducted. The school has access to each student’s personal information including up to date address and parental information.
The reasons for childhood obesity are numerous but among the top reasons are Fast food, candy, soda Lack of exercise Too much time spent watching television and playing video games or electronic devices Parents are often in a hurry and supply children with “ready to eat” or “easy to fix” suppers which are loaded with carbohydrates and fat grams.
In former years, health conditions such as high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes were generally thought to be adult concerns. In recent years, these same conditions are prevalent among children as young as five years of age and range through adolescent age group. Left untreated, these conditions will shorten the lifespan of the future generation.
Arkansas Act 1220 was implemented as a tool to increase awareness and help prevent the childhood obesity epidemic from escalating out of control. Although the legislation was approved with the best and most positive of intentions, we must now analyze and reevaluate the method of using the school environment as the setting for BMI assessment and create alternative solutions.
While it is true that the school environment provides easy and convenient accessibility to assess each child’s BMI and alert parents to potential health risks, we must determine if the method currently in use places the child at a greater risk to immediate self esteem and bullying issues. Overweight children know they are overweight. They do not have to be told this information.
In order for the nurse to conduct the assessment the students are in line waiting their turn to be weighed and measured. Are we naïve enough to think that the overweight student is oblivious to his/her surroundings? Even as young as second grade, children can be teased and bullied for being overweight which only escalates an already dangerous situation. Now we are not only dealing with physical risks but emotional as well.
ProsCons Easy accessibility to measure and weigh each child via school nurse Assurance that no child’s BMI is “left behind” or goes unnoticed Easier parental notification of risk Child is vulnerable to being bullied Child’s self-esteem is lowered Increased risk of eating disorder Increased risk of depression/anxiety
Leave BMI assessment to child’s pediatrician or health department during immunization visits. Licensed nutritionist on staff for every school district to conduct monthly assembly in the gym to discuss healthy eating habits and exercise regimens. School can conduct Healthy Family Night one time per each nine week term with special guest speakers such as nutritionists and fitness instructors.