Teachers 'could help to tackle childhood obesity'
Article date: 10 September 2014
Teachers could hold the key in the battle to bring down child obesity levels, according to new research.
An investigation carried out in the US found that by following a guide to encourage youngsters to take part in physical activities, this could help to reduce the chance of them developing serious health conditions in later life.
The Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute in North Carolina has produced the document, which aims to give teachers inspiration on how they can engage children to get active.
Focusing on those aged up to five years old, it suggests that involving them in games like 'Tip Toe Through Puddles' and 'Lily Pad Walk' could make a significant difference to how a young person develops.
FPG investigator Allison De Marco revealed there was currently a real risk of child life expectancy declining because of the increased number of kids that are overweight. However, she added that the guide they had sent to teachers could be a crucial resource in trying to turn this trend around.
"It was fun to see how creative they [the teachers] could be when working from our instructions, adapting and enhancing the activities for their own kids,” Ms De Marco noted. “Teachers are more comfortable providing activities they know are safe and developmentally appropriate."
As well as providing health benefits, increasing the level of physical activity among youngsters has also been recognised as making a positive impact on their school test scores and reducing the chance of them developing behavioural problems.
The National Obesity Forum's 'State of the Nation's Waistline' described the rate of childhood obesity in the UK as "worryingly high", while the issue has previously been linked to conditions including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.