Obesity levels in Ireland are at a shocking level and schools are being asked to fix it. Some quarters are even blaming schools for the obesity epidemic because we “only” do one hour of PE per week. Experts claim that doubling the amount of PE would “solve” the crisis, which is nonsense, of course.
The obesity problem in Ireland is far too rooted in generations of society for schools to have any meaningful impact on it. Doubling PE time will do absolutely nothing. Programmes like Food Dudes exasperate the problem. As much as we think we are experts in lots of different things, take one look at your average staffroom and it’s safe to say that we can safely agree not to add dietician to our skillset.
Parents are key in the fight against the obesity crisis. Schools don’t pack children’s lunches (although I would say we should be providing children with healthy lunches) and schools certainly don’t decide what children eat outside of school. Schools also don’t get to choose what activities children do outside of school either.
Some parents will need extra help to tackle obesity and this is where the HSE might come in. If a child is overweight, a doctor or nurse should be able to refer a parent to a course to help their child where needs be.
That’s where tackling the obesity crisis should be, not at schools. Sure, we can teach about good food and exercise, but we can’t be responsible for the choices made outside of school.