Before I begin this blog entry - a quick plug for my Chromebooks project. I recently received a matching donation of $1500 (and potentially more). If you can donate to this project to help support computer use in my classroom, please do so soon. The best way is to send a check directly or you can use the ChipIn widget to the right (there will be a 3% if you do). Any donation can help. Thanks!
For those who do not know I recently made the transition from more neighborhood-type schools in West Philadelphia to a magnet school local south of Center City. It has been an interesting change and one that I want to examine as I work there. Last weekend I was chatting with a friend of mine about the differences and we came up with a short list. This series is going to be diving into that list to explore what it might mean. First up on the list: obesity.
Until I had that conversation, I barely even thought about anything physical relating to my new students aside from the fact that they have more diverse skin tones than schools in West Philadelphia. But, when I thought more deeply about their physical shapes, I noted one major thing: these magnet kids are thinner!
There are a host of reasons why this particular group of kids might have fewer obese members but I think it is definitely a reflection on their backgrounds. Perhaps their families don't eat at McDonald's as often because they a) can afford not to, b) understand that saturated fat can be deadly, or c) they exercise more. Or it could be many other reasons, too. Maybe the 4 flights of stairs students have to climb in order to get to my room!
Whatever the reason is, it has an effect. The students don't tire as easily I've noticed (even though they get to school an hour before my students last year). They are able to concentrate and focus more quickly. They more consistently participate in sports teams. Or, to be honest, these effects could have nothing to do with their weight.
But when childhood obesity is focused on by the First Lady we should take a moment's pause to wonder why it is that neighborhood schools have fatter kids than magnet schools. And what we should do about it.