Let me ask you a question; how many times have you used algebra since leaving school? I know I’ve used it about twice! English literature is pretty much the same; I’ve quoted the occasional play or poem but, other than that, it’s a subject I have never even thought about since I left school.
However, what I wish I’d learned about is nutrition – that would have been really useful!
Once I left home and started work, I started cooking for myself and choosing what food I wanted to eat. Invariably, I ate the food that was a) available, and b) advertised to me. Subsequently, I didn’t always make very good food choices.
But, I didn’t actually know I was making bad food choices because on one ever told me. It was only by doing my own reading, learning, and research that I discovered some important truths about the food I was eating. It’s amazing how many other people I speak to are in the same situation; they simply do not know they are eating unhealthily.
Once they learn what is a “good carb”, “Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs for Weight Loss” and what is a “bad fat”,“How to Choose Healthy Fats”, for example, or how unhealthy sugar can be, they often want to know why no one told them this before – and that’s a really good question!
Nutrition education should, in my opinion, start in school. It should not be an optional subject but a compulsory one complete with an end of term final exam that, if you fail, means you have to do remedial studies.
Why such a hard line on kids and nutrition? Because if more kids learned about the importance of eating healthily, the fewer unhealthy adults there would be.
Lots of people like to talk about habits and how hard they are to break and I agree, it’s true. But many habits are learned during childhood and adolescence. When it comes to food-related habits, we tend to learn a lot from family and relatives.
Sadly, those same people are often just as unaware of the importance of good nutrition and so junior ends up absorbing the same habits he or she is exposed too.
Learning about nutrition at school will mean that kids become better at making healthy choices for themselves and are less likely to adopt the eating habits of their family without questioning why. They will learn about how food effects the very cells of their body and how food can be beneficial or harmful.
Let’s face it, they can’t rely on the food industry to tell them what’s good for them and what’s not; so many unhealthy foods are sold and promoted as being good for you that any child will just end up confused if they believe that information.
Sugar comes from a plant and plants are healthy and so sugar must be healthy too – right? Potato chips are made from vegetables and vegetables are healthy so potato chips are healthy – right? Of course not! It’s funny because it’s true… The Hot Dog example on my article “Why you should avoid Empty calories”.
People are getting fatter from one year to the next and the number of overweight and obese people is set to reach record levels. It’s not just adults that are heading this way either, the rate of childhood obesity is on the rise too.
While there are other factors that contribute to weight gain in kids, it’s bad food choices that are probably the most responsible. That’s why I believe that nutrition education in schools is so important.
Kids should be taught how the food they eat effects their bodies, how to choose and prepare healthy food, how to eat for weight loss and weight management, and any other subject pertinent to eating healthily.
I strongly believe that nutrition education in schools is essential for preventing childhood and therefore adult obesity. It’s more important than learning how to calculate the area of a circle or being able to quote Shakespeare! If we can teach kids about nutrition, they will become healthier adults and that is good for the nation. Of course, parents often need to be educated too but it’s often easier to sort out a problem by starting at the grassroots level and, in this instance, that means nutritional education in schools.