I read this article in the Globe and Mail recently about connecting eating disorders to school health programs.
Now, some of it may be fact, some of it may be based on fact but spun by the writer to suit the paper’s take on the situation. And some of it may be taken completely out of context to illustrate a point. I haven’t looked at the research. I can’t say either way.
What I can and will comment on is the emphasis put on the school to promote healthy eating and weight management.
Since when did we make the school system fully responsible for the health of our children?
As parents, are we not the primary caregivers of our children? Is it not our primary responsibility to ensure the health and well-being of our children? When did we hand over this responsibility to the schools?
I get it. I’m a working parent. I’m tired. I’m stressed. I have very little time left at the end of my day. But my children are my responsibility, and although I appreciate the programs offered through the schools that support my parenting philosophy, my children remain my responsibility. Their health, their eating habits, their understanding of how to be healthy is based on what I teach them.
Farming this responsibility out to the schools and expecting the general approach that they will apply to work for every child is misguided at best.
Children start their learning at home. How we feed them, how much involvement and input they have in the preparation of their meals, how much physical activity we do with them (or model for them), these are the things that are going to make a difference to how our children view themselves and how healthy they are. The schools are an extension of this, not the starting point.
As parents, we have to remember that.
I get it. We’re all busy. And, hey, if the school is going to provide a healthy snack each day and expect me to only contribute a few dollars, I’m in. But when the whole focus of gym class is on strength and proper body mass index, and the gym class is full of nine year olds, perhaps we’re going a little too far.