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Rowena Hopkins

Promoting Healthy living through science

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Last year I found myself once again teaching a biology topic at KS3 entitled 'nutrition and health'. I decided that this was a wonderful opportunity to ask students to examine their own lifestyles particularly bearing in mind that obesity is becoming a huge (no pun intended) issue for the younger generation.

However, I was advised against asking the students to keep a 'food and exercise' diary because it would stigmatise those from less affluent backgrounds who were not able to eat well.

I disagreed but in the end compromised by comparing the lifestyle of a 'typical' British student to that of a 'typical' Rwandan student. Needless to say the fat content of a british diet was considerably more than that of a Rwandan whilst the time spent exercising was considerably less.

During the class discussion it became apparent that the less well off students who often ate skittles or mars bars for breakfast exercised less due to having access to satelite TV and many computer games....leading me to ask why, if the parents can afford satelite TV, why can they feed their kids veggies and fruit?'.

So, my question is, do we grab the bull by the horns and teach kids how to look after their health at the risk of temporarily making them feel bad about themselves, or do we sit back and allow them to die early due to ignorance?

OK, so the question is biased and you can tell what my answer is but I love to hear some other views.


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