Terry D. Etherton
A great article has just been published in the May 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The article Bring Back Home Economics Education was written by Drs. Alice Lichtenstein and David Ludwig of Tufts University and Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA. The article advocates the need to “bring back” Home Economics education and the role this could play in prevention of adolescent overweight and obesity.
Home Economics, otherwise known as domestic education, was a fixture in secondary schools through the 1960s, at least for girls. The underlying concept was that future homemakers should be educated in the care and feeding of their families. This idea now seems quaint, but in the midst of a pediatric obesity epidemic and concerns about the poor diet quality of adolescents in the United States, instruction in basic food preparation and meal planning skills needs to be part of any long-term solution.
About 35% of adolescents are overweight or obese, a prevalence that approaches 50% in minority populations. Excessive weight among youth affects virtually every organ system and, according to a recent study, increases the risk of premature death. In addition, obesity adversely affects self-esteem, academic accomplishment, and future earning potential of children.
My encouragement is that you read the article and appreciate the pressing need to implement programs that effectively reduce the incidence of adolescent overweight and obesity.