It will come as no surprise to most people reading this that sixteen percent of adolescents living in the United States meet the criteria for obesity. If it's not a surprise then why does the problem persist? Why isn't someone doing something? It all boils down to accountability. Society blames the parents, parents blame the media, and the media blames the schools that harbor the evil snack machines. In fact, all three of those parties are both correct and incorrect. It's a working transacting system between all three as well as other factors that weren't topping the list of quick scapegoats. Children don't only learn what is taught in school or only learn from television or only learn from their parents. They are constantly absorbing information from each of these sources and what they understand from all of it is what informs their decisions. This paper aims to propose a program that will address the many risk factors of obesity and integrate all of the mentioned information systems to promote a healthy lifestyle particularly in middle school students.
[...] Obesity isn't a simple psychosocial barrier to learning. It has many layers that interact with one another to complicate research, results and interventions. I believe that the RUN! program is ideal because it incorporates aspects of the Social Emotional Learning Framework, it provides continuity by involving parents as partners in learning and instead of focusing only on the issue of obesity, it considers the underlying issues of stress and self esteem. The RUN! program is well informed by current research and with a little bit of time and effort can be incorporated into any school environment. [...]
[...] Based on the evidence if these adolescents are engaged in this program and have the continuity of the parental involvement that leads to promotion of these healthy habits in home as well as in school their self esteem will increase, their stress levels will decrease, and as a result their grades will increase. Reaching Out to Those Not Directly Involved: Along with this program parents who are not involved should also have the opportunity to become aware of these issues that their children are facing. [...]
[...] There will be times when parents will separate from the adolescents to support each other while the students are led in a discussion about victimization and self esteem and how to form a healthy relationship with food, their bodies, and peers. This would also be a good platform to discuss the effects of bullying based on any aspect of a person; that's another benefit to not limiting the group to obese adolescents. This piece will be supportive and encouraging not only in terms of weight loss but in terms of academics and general social relationships. [...]
[...] Bullying affects a student's ability to learn. No one is going to contest that point. A student who is bullied on a semi-regular basis will miss school more often, be unfocused in the classroom and have a low level of self-esteem which will affect the effort he or she puts into their work. What does this have to do with obesity? Obese adolescents are at an increased risk for victimization by their peers because they are viewed as undesirable, lazy, and disgusting (Robinson, 2006). [...]
[...] Key Elements of Proposed Program: Based on all of the research regarding the effect of obesity on learning and on programs that have shown success there are five components that I view as essential to success in a school based program aiming to promote healthy lifestyles, self esteem and academic achievement. Parents Education Support Self Esteem Fun Parents need to be involved not only so that the adolescents understand the gravity of the issue but also because their involvement will increase the success of the adolescents. [...]
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