The first lady is in town to further her campaign against childhood obesity. This morning she visited DISD’s Moseley Elementary, which was chosen because the district has made big strides in improving the fare it serves to students. DISD has more schools than any district in the country that have met the highest standards set by the USDA. I can attest to the district’s progress. The food that comes out of my daughter’s lunchroom is much improved over the stuff they were serving just a few years ago. So kudos all around. Let’s keep working to make those kids healthy.
But we should be looking at the teachers, too. Because — and you’ll forgive my bluntness — I think we’ve got a lot of fat teachers setting a bad example for those kids. The first time I started thinking about this was a couple years ago, after one of those district-wide meetings at the AAC. Afterward, I listened to a handful of teachers talk about how disturbing it was to see so many of their colleagues seriously overweight.
Obviously, I don’t have any data. Just anecdotal evidence. Next time you’re at your kid’s school, though, take a look around. And I have a theory as to why our teacher population has an obesity problem: stress-eating.
Awhile back, I talked to the woman who runs Dallas’ 911 call center. She told me that, on average, in their first year on the job, 911 call operators gain 30 pounds. Why? Stress. One way the operators deal with that stress is to eat.
My theory is that teachers face a similar situation. Even in the best of economic times, it’s a difficult job. Start closing schools and laying off staff, and it gets worse. On top of that, despite what Edwin Flores thinks, they work long hours. My guess is that they stress-eat, and they don’t exercise enough.
Changing the kids’ eating and exercise habits is the first step. The next is convincing the teachers to do the same thing.
Update: Turns out there is data. Right here.