Are schools responsible for childhood obesity?

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, July 11, 2013

We know by now that obesity is a huge problem. But whose problem is it? Mine? Yours? The government's? How about our schools'?

A survey presented at the 2013 Childhood Obesity Conference (using data from a Kaiser Permanente poll) revealed that 90% of Americans think schools have a responsibility when it comes to fighting childhood obesity. More than half took it a step further and said schools should not only have a role, but that they should take the lead. Only 19% of participants said obesity was a personal issue.

The survey also revealed that 78% of parents think healthy school lunches will help improve obesity rates in children. Other agreed upon solutions when it comes to schools and obesity included more walking routes to schools, fresh water available in schools, and physical exercise. Parents agreed with new standards that promote more produce and whole grains and less salt in school lunches.

Although a large majority of parents think schools should play a role in combating obesity and improving school food, I find it interesting that only half of parents think junk food shouldn't be sold in schools. How are we sending a message to kids to eat healthier food while selling them junk?