While cash-strapped sport teams and PTAs across the country have lamented recent financial losses from bake sale bans for the sake of our children’s waistlines, no one has argued against the efficacy of improving student diets. Until now. A new study reports that school-aged interventions aimed at curbing childhood obesity may be too little, too late. In fact, healthy (or not-so-healthy) habits are established as early as in the womb—in other words, six years before most children enter the public-schooling system. But the good news is that early interventions—such has encouraging mothers to lose weight before pregnancy or ensuring that babies get enough sleep—can reset a child’s obesity trajectory. Those things, obviously, aren’t the job of schools. We can’t argue with fewer French fries and more vegetables in our nation’s cafeterias, but let’s not forget that schools cannot and should not try to fix all of our students’ woes.
“Baby Fat May Not Be So Cute After All,” by Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times, March 22, 2010