The food and nutrition industry is worth more than $1.2 trillion, and many people still do not understand what they are buying or how much to eat.
This week, a report from the nonprofit National Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that schools and parents start taking nutrition and physical activity education into consideration in the classroom.
The Academy, which is a nonpartisan think tank, released the report to coincide with the launch of the latest edition of the National Academy Nutrition and Disease Prevention Policy Guide, an online guide that addresses many of the concerns that have led to a spike in childhood obesity and diabetes.
In the guide, the Academy recommends that teachers and school administrators consider nutrition and fitness in the context of the curriculum, with specific attention to the role of food in kids’ diets.
The Academy said it is working to get its recommendations into classrooms as early as next year.
“Parents, teachers, and administrators need to begin taking nutrition, fitness, and nutrition educators at the classroom seriously, as well as the broader nutrition and obesity community, in order to prevent childhood obesity,” the report said.
The report includes a comprehensive discussion of what to look for in a classroom and how to make sure teachers, administrators, and parents are understanding how to teach nutrition and exercise.
It also encourages educators to incorporate healthy eating practices into the curriculum and make it a priority for students to take healthy food classes and participate in exercise programs.
According to the report, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has estimated that children aged 1 to 18 spend more than 4 hours a day eating, drinking, and using the Internet, while more than 1 million children in the United States suffer from obesity and 4.3 million children have diabetes.