Childhood Obesity: Perspective from a School Nurse (video interview)

By at January 12, 2011 | 1:10 pm | Print

Childhood Obesity: Perspective from a School Nurse (video interview)

Nurse Kimberly interviews Linda Neumann, a registered nurse at a local St. Louis school, about the childhood obesity epidemic.

Ms. Neumann has been a nurse for almost 35 years, and isn’t afraid to “tell it like it is”. This is an eye-opening interview that really illustrates the severity of childhood obesity. It is evident from this interview that Ms. Nuemann not only understands this crisis, but actively works to fix it. Our schools need more nurses like Linda Neumann.


VIDEO 1: Should States Mandate What Schools Feed Our Children?

Schools are given the autonomy to decided on their policies and their school lunch regulations. Unfortunately, not all schools are utilizing their autonomy in a healthy way that would benefit their staff and students. Schools still have doughnuts for breakfast, candy bar fundraisers, and sodas for classroom celebrations. Maybe it is time that the government becomes active in mandating specific guidelines and policies that apply to all schools. Policies like NO soda in schools! Children are at school to receive an education not eat candy and cookies.
-Nurse Kimberly


VIDEO 2: Severe Consequences of Childhood Obesity and What to Do.

It is not news that being an unhealthy weight as an adult can lead to other health problems and chronic diseases. However, recently children are beginning to suffer from a variety of preventable health consequences related to their weight. Some of the health problems that are seen in these overweigh children are asthma, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure. One of the most devastating chronic diseases an overweight child can face is Type 2 Diabetes, previously only seen in adults. In 2009 the Division of Health and Senior Services for the state of Missouri did a survey in it’s schools. The survey revealed that 711 children had been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Most children with this disease are burdened with checking their blood sugar throughout the day, taking a pill, or even giving themselves an injection of insulin. This disease is completely preventable and reversible with some basic lifestyle modifications. To my surprise Linda Neumann, a school nurse at Webster Groves Middle School informed me of another ailment overweight and obese children are facing. Joint damage that is irreversible. The young bodies of overweight and obese toddlers, elementary age, and middle age children are not built to carry all of the excess body weight that they have. During my interview with Linda we discussed the mental health disorders that are often overlooked. One of the most common mental health disorders in depression. Linda informed me that many overweight and obese children shy away from the other groups of children and become isolated. This is something that I am very familiar with and should not be ignored but most of the time is. We all need to change our attitudes. Instead of taking a defensive approach to information reach out for help for your family. Linda explained during our interview that many parents have screamed and yelled at her when she has called to let them know their child has had several high blood pressure readings. Shouldn’t they be thanking her? We all need to take childhood obesity seriously and work together to find practical solutions for each other. We should be thankful we have nurses like Linda Neumann be our children’s advocate when we are not around.
Linda thank you for your time and information. I think we can all take something away from this interview.
-Nurse Kimberly


VIDEO 3: Childhood Obesity: Contributing Factors 
School nurse Linda Neumann discusses the numerous contributing factors that are responsible for the obesity epidemic. Despite efforts to improve nutrition at school and provide students with education about the essential basics of nutrition, parents are struggling at home to do the same. Schools and parents need to creatively find a way to coalesce their energies to help fight the childhood obesity epidemic.
-Nurse Kimberly


VIDEO 4: Struggles & Role Models
Children look for guidance and role models from the adults that they are surrounded by. Adults should be making their own health a priority because of this alone. Teachers, doctors, nurses, dieticians, parents, and anyone whom either has children or is directly involved in a child’s care should be leading by example. How can we ask our children to go play instead of sitting in front of the television or tell them “no” to a second doughnut if we are sitting on the couch or having 3 doughnuts? It’s simple, we need to hold ourselves accountable and know it is our responsibility to teach our children and help them develop healthy habits. If we do not then children who are not overweight can easily become overweight and children who already present with an unhealthy bmi will suffer from the health consequences that coexist.
-Nurse Kimberly

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