Bring Back Home Economics Education

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.

3 thoughts on “Bring Back Home Economics Education

  1. Thank you for your support! I am a Family & Consumer Science Teacher. I face these issues every day! I see students who have neverused a peeler or done basic skills like cutting or peeling a peach. My classes have been unfairly cut when enrollment is high! Students constantly tell me that I have tried to get into your class for 3 years and have not been able to.

  2. As a high school Family & Consumer Sciences teacher(formerly known as Home Economics) in Bridgeport, CT, a large inner city, I am seeing firsthand the devastating effects on childhood obesity. Our elementary and middle school programs were closed 5 years ago and the children are becoming more obese. School lunch programs are certainly NOT nutritionally sound and urban families are lacking the knowledge needed to combat this problem! I worry because so many of our programs have been dropped from our universities and there are a growing number of family & consumer sciences educators that are reaching RETIREMENT. This is a major problem! Additionally, school boards who are facing budget issues often drop these “elective” areas because they are not considered important! How wrong they are!!! We need more FCS programs to be established at the university levels! HELP!!!! Our children are suffering and in the long run, the entire nation will suffer both medically and financially!

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