Home Economics Jennifer Grossman states in her essay titled “Food for thought (and for Credit)”, schools should begin teaching Home Economics again in order to combat obesity. Home Economics is not the answer to the problem of obesity whether it is childhood or adult. School districts can arm students with knowledge of nutrition and food preparation to help them make healthier choices, but will it truly be a factor when the choices are presented. There are too many other reasons that contribute to childhood and adult obesity to suggest that bringing back Home Economics will have a large effect on the problem.
In the 2003-2004 there were around 5. 5 million students taking Family and Consumer Science classes (Auge 2009), the modern name for Home Ec. Since 2004, obesity has increased throughout the nation. Judging by the increase in the number of obese, home economics is not doing much to curb the trend. When students leave the classroom, is their hour Family and Consumer science class going to enter their thoughts. In her essay Grossman says,” obese children commonly grow up to be obese adults”, which is often true. The problem lies in that home economics classes normally begin in middle or high school.
The fight against childhood obesity begins when one is a child. Home Economic classes are and would be receiving students who may have already picked up bad habits. These bad habits may have been persisting for years making bad habits much harder to break. If schools were to bring back home economics, they would need to revise the curriculum. The revision would have to make nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices teachable to young children. Many parents today took home economics when they were in high school; however many of these parents have obese children.
Why are there so many overweight kids and adults when the adults have taken home economic classes? Many factors have contributed to the obesity starting with the changes in society. In the golden age of home economics, many students were woman learning to cook and sew. In modern society women are no longer, the stay home take care of the kids’ type. The modern woman is a professional, working in areas once dominated by men. Due to both parents now in the workplace, time spent at home has diminished greatly.
The familiar scene of families sitting around the dinner table every night is now the family sitting around the TV with bags of fast food or cheap frozen dinners. Will reintroducing the idea of home economics help the obese 7th grader whose single mom works 12-hour days and does not have the time or money to make dinner. A student may have the knowledge to make healthy choices, but the knowledge is only useful when the healthy choices are obtainable. When dinnertime comes throughout the nation, a large number of parents are opting for the quick, least expensive meal. The child has no choice but to eat the food their parents have provided.
The students who take home economic classes are at the age when after school they return home to an empty house. With both parents at work and the student sits down turns on the TV and enjoys a snack. Whether this snack is healthy, depends on what the parent has provided for snacks. The problem of obesity starts when a child is young, below the age of home economic classes. Therefore, the responsibility of educating the youth on nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices falls on the parents. Grossman stands firmly on her belief that home economics will bring back the focus on the basics, “life, food, home and hearth”, (Grossman 353).
The basics such as mathematics, English, and science are much more important in the realm of education than home economics. The skills taught in home economic classes are important however; those skills are useless if there is no foundation of the basic classes. The knowledge gained in the basic classes is crucial in order to succeed in life, start a family, and even build a home. Home economics or Family and Consumer science, the modern term, is fine the way it is taught now. Those students who wish to take the classes choose them as their electives. Students who choose to take other types of electives can choose ones they prefer.
The system prevents children from being required to take a class they have no interest in taking. In the essay, Grossman talks of retooling the material so it can relate to recent times. The suggestions made are good ideas on how to retool the curriculum for the modern class, but remember the problem of obesity most often starts at ages below middle school. From the essay, “How would you spend $100 to feed a family of four including a diabetic, a nursing mother, and an infant for one week”, (Grossman 353). The solution to the problem is very difficult if possible at all.
A middle school or high school student is not going to the answer to the question. Many adults may say that in today’s economy more money is needed for everyone to eat and stay healthy. Is knowledge of home finance going to stop the student at lunch from choosing the bag of chips over the healthy apple? No, this is another reason why Grossman is wrong in her suggestion that bringing back home economics will greatly reduce obesity. The solution to the problem of obesity starts within the home. If a parent does not want their child overweight, they must teach their child to make healthy choices.
The teachings of what constitutes healthy foods should begin when a child is young in order to lay a strong impression on the youth. The youth has and always will do as the adults do, as a result adults should provide an example of what happens when one lives a healthy life. Society has changed drastically from the times in which home economics was a cornerstone. Both parents are now working, leaving the kids home alone to sit, eat, and play video games. The reintroduction of home economics to schools will do little to combat the working family with not enough time or money to cook healthy dinners.
Children should not have to be concerned with dangers of dioxins, yes it would helpful for a child to know, but to make the student take a class encompassing such topics is overkill. Allow a child to enjoy life, the food they eat, and the home in which they live. Home economics is a useful class; however, it is not going to solve childhood obesity.
Bibliography Auge, Karen. “Home-ec class isn’t dominated by girls anymore. ” The Denver Post. The Denver Post, 23 Feb. 2009. Web. 10 Feb 2010. Grossman, Jennifer, “Food for thought 7(and for Credit). ” Elements of Argument 9th edition (2009): 352-353. Print