Statistics tell us that childhood obesity has immediate and long-term impacts on not only physical health but also social and emotional health. These are areas of the utmost importance for all children navigating their way through the primary areas of education and even into middle and high school. This is why for this edition of “Tough Topics” we decided to contact Zoe Hubbard, the Deputy Head of Primary at British School of Beijing, Sanlitun (BSB, Sanlitun), and ask about ways that schools can collaborate with parents to prevent this unnecessary life challenge before it begins and to facilitate a healthy development.
Should schools, in general, be more responsible for childhood obesity prevention?
Working in partnership with parents, schools help to educate children on the benefits of exercise and healthy diet and how this will lead to healthy adults.
What are some ways that your school educates about nutrition and the importance of physical activity in the curricula?
School is an ideal opportunity to introduce children to a variety of physical activities. At BSB, Sanlitun we offer a range of different physical activities through our rich curriculum and specifically our PE program. Children also have the opportunity to engage in physical activities through our After School Activities. As part of our PSHE program and Science curriculum, children are introduced to the importance of a healthy balanced diet. This is reflected in our health snacks policy and our school lunches.
How early should this sort of learning about food and exercise begin?
From Early Years through to Year 6, children at BSB, Sanlitun are being made aware of healthy food choices and the benefit of exercise, in fun and creative ways.
How are children’s attitudes and habits towards maintaining a healthy diet and exercise influenced by the lifestyle of their parents?
Many parents take their children with them when they go food shopping. It’s an opportunity to discuss healthy options and how to make good choices when selecting ingredients for a meal. It’s great if parents can engage their children in the preparation and cooking of food and have fun together in the kitchen. Parents who exercise with their children, whether going for a cycle or a walk, are also reinforcing a positive message about exercise as a key part of their lifestyle. Promoting exercise as a fun and enjoyable activity will foster a positive attitude towards diet and exercise.
Should prevention of childhood obesity be a collaborative effort between schools, parents, and children?
Yes, definitely. Everyone who is involved in a child’s development has a role to play in educating the child about making healthy choices.
In the future how do you think technology will play a larger role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
Currently, devices and apps are available to help people consider what they are eating and the impact that has on their body; while other apps will calculate the amount of physical activity. Let’s see what the future brings us!
Hubbard is the Deputy Head of Primary at British School of Beijing, Sanlitun. Since qualifying as a teacher in 2003, she has taught in schools in London and Brighton before moving to Beijing in 2014 where she now leads the way for the teaching and learning across the primary phase of the school.
This article originally appeared on pg 44 of beijingkids October 2017 issue.
Download the digital copy here.