Now, this is a HUGE topic in the early childhood discipline, everyone. 33% of children under the age of 8 are obese. When I mean obese, I don't mean a few pounds overweight; I'm referring to children being 10-20 pounds to heavy!
Of course, many parents feel that a child's extra weight might not cause much trouble. Many often remember while growing up that many kids--including themselves--had some "baby fat" on them that eventually melted off as they grew up and as the metabolism revved up. Keep in mind, though, that the extra weight can cause a number of other problems. Kids could develop diabetes early. Cholesterol could turn into a problem earlier than expected, and the extra weight on young frames could cause spinal, hip, and knee erosion much earlier than possible.
Early childhood teachers can do little to help except to educate, educate, educate the children and especially their parents. The parents are often the biggest culprits because they put unhealthy choices (like fast food) before the child way too often. This was a pattern that for many parents started not long after the baby began to eat solid food. Moms and Dads often continue this cycle of unhealthy menu choice offerings because THEY themselves eat the wrong things.
I tell all my teachers that I train to model healthy living for these children. That's all you can do. YOU exercise. YOU avoid bringing sodas and other unhealthy drinks in the classroom--Bring water, 100% juice, or milk instead. A big issue for a lot of teachers seeking to model healthy choices in terms of food comes from the fact that so many cafeterias serve horrible food. It's full of fat, oil, sugar, starch, and other baddies that have fair to middling nutrition. The teacher is caught in the middle: should I bring my own healthy food or should I model eating the cafeteria food? Either way, they make a statement validating or rejecting what's served in the lunchroom.
I applaud First Lady Obama for taking up this very difficult issue on a national leel.
I just hope she focuses on the real problem: the adults...not the children.