Changing bodies, changing uniforms.

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The Dallas School Board just made a ruling about easing up on their dress code for their overweight and obese kids, no longer forcing them to tuck in their shirts.

While I’m all for this… there’s nothing worse than trying to tuck in a shirt when you’re not feeling great about your body… when I read this article, I was a bit shocked at the comments people were leaving underneath.

First of all, when you see the numbers of kids that are getting bullied for their size, it’s heartbreaking. 58 percent of boys and 63 percent of girls are getting teased for being overweight.

But let’s look at the root of the issue here. How about if, rather than spending all of this time and energy debating back and forth about how the kids should dress, we actually spent time talking with them about how their bodies are changing. And more importantly, how to deal with these changes by finding healthy coping skills.

Let’s put it like this. It’s not uncommon for a girl going through puberty to put on as much as 20 lbs. of pure body fat in one year. Eventually, if she’s maintaining healthy eating habits and staying active, that fat will go where it needs to go… her hips, breasts, and thighs. If, however, she gets teased relentlessly for becoming “fat”, she’s got to turn somewhere to deal with her stress. Too embarrassed to join in on sports because of her weight gain, she’s most likely to turn to food.

This sets up a cycle where food becomes the stressor and the coping skill all at once.

This isn’t just an issue for girls either. More than half of boys will experience breast swelling during puberty as their chest muscles develop. I can’t imagine any pre-teen boy who wants to wear a fitted shirt when he thinks he’s growing breasts.

Again, talking about all of this with each other means nothing if we don’t involve the kids. We need to spend our time and energy talking to them about how everyone’s body is changing… and that making fun of each other for the way they look is messed up. Especially when they’re all in this puberty thing together.

I mean, look at all of the disproportionately large feet in the middle school hallway. This puberty stuff doesn’t happen evenly, and it sure as heck doesn’t happen overnight.

Not having to tuck in your shirt is a good start… but I’d be curious to see what kind of bullying prevention and Health education requirements they have going on in their district. With only 20.6% of middle school students in the states taking Health class, I’d say those odds are, sadly, not high enough.

#FRD2013

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Friday is Food Revolution Day!

 

We’ve got some special guests from Sprout coming in to cook with our health classes, and I can’t wait to see what they’ve got for us.

After that, we’re going to watch this new documentary from HBO’s The Weight of the Nation series. It’s about some awesome kids in New Orleans who decided they wanted healthy food at their school. Rather than just complaining, they actually made some sustainable changes. An awesome example of the power of student voice, and this week is a great time to share it with the kids.

The Great Cafeteria Takeover

What are you going to do on Friday?

At the very least, join this Thunderclap and spread the word to your social network. Maybe you’ll inspire someone to eat their veggies.

Getting 7th graders excited about running?

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Amazing…. 

Shared this with my classes, and had a student say she’s been using it for a while. Says it’s a blast.

What a great way to get kids involved in MMORPG’s out and moving. Another great example of how technology can be used to have a positive impact our health… and the health of our students… making fitness seem enjoyable, rather than a chore.

Love it, and can’t wait to see what’s next.

 

Well put.

“Technology is neither good nor bad. But it does make people’s good and bad more powerful.”

-Yishan Wong, Reddit, Wired Magazine – May 2013

Say nice stuff. People will notice.

Every time I show this video, I’m beyond impressed by how it reaches our students. Such a great example of social media and how it was meant to be used… to enrich our lives and connections, and to bring out the best in people.

I also love the example of positivity as a tool for prevention. Especially for teenagers. We know that when it comes to nutrition, telling kids what they shouldn’t eat doesn’t work. Instead, we tell them about what they should. No more, “don’t eat fast food”, now it’s all “eat more veggies”. Makes so much sense.

And here, this high school junior offers the same approach when it comes to cyberbullying. Instead of coming out and saying, “don’t cyberbully”, he just simply says nice stuff. To everyone.

And guess what?

People like him for it. He’s popular. Imagine that.

When good deeds go viral, it’s so important to share it with students. The “Just Say No”, and “Supersize Me” scare tactics of the past have obviously not been effective methods of health education. Maybe we can all learn from the example of this student… and just focus on the positive.

Let’s not give the bullies any more attention. Let’s focus on the allies… the folks who refuse to be bystanders and set a good example for us all.