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PTAs, childhood obesity

Posted: August 28, 2009 9:45 p.m.
Updated: August 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
In response to the article "Childhood obesity: a growing problem" (The Signal, Aug. 16), reporter Tammy Marashlian cites, among other reasons for childhood obesity, "student organizations and PTAs (that) use food such as desserts and junk food for fundraisers."

What she failed to mention was that the PTAs in the Santa Clarita Valley have done more than any other organization to promote healthy lifestyles to students.

The following are examples of events the PTA organizes and sponsors at Bridgeport Elementary and are mirrored by other schools throughout the valley: Health Week: "caught eating healthy" rewards for students eating healthy lunches; PTA-sponsored Walk Around the Park before-school program; assemblies promoting and informing students about healthy lifestyles (annual Kaiser assembly, X-treme bicycle assemblies, among others); PTA-sponsored Red Ribbon Week (week-long anti-drug and healthy lifestyle events); Walk to School days; programs that reward students for exercise (school-sponsored and PTA-sponsored programs).

As part of PTA's Health Week, our principal and assistant principal walk around at lunch in a banana costume promoting healthy eating.

The students love all of these events meant to encourage and inform them of the benefits of lifelong healthy choices and habits.

As encouraged by the national and state PTAs, there are serious trends away from PTAs using unhealthy food as fundraisers and the fundraiser companies themselves have responded by substituting healthy foods or providing healthy alternatives.

The student council at Bridgeport no longer offers candy-grams for Valentine's Day and they now sell a Valentine card in its place.

As promoted by our school's administrators, Bridgeport PTA's Room Mom Coordinator works with the classroom room moms to ensure that children's birthdays are no longer celebrated by providing food items (i.e. cupcakes) to the classrooms.

Bridgeport's PTA works closely with our administrators and teachers in order to bring a variety of health-related programs to our school and these programs are supported and promoted by the Bridgeport community.

I am personally aware that most other PTAs, schools and districts in the SCV provide an equally intense level of commitment to ensure healthy lifestyles for students in order to combat childhood obesity.

Perhaps by focusing on what the PTAs and other organizations are doing to promote healthy lifestyles for children, we can provide an example of what can be voluntarily accomplished.

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