World Obesity Day is observed every year on March 4th. For 2023, the World Obesity Day theme is “Changing Perspectives: Let’s Talk About Obesity” with the goal to address misconceptions, end stigmas, and shift norms, with the hope of spreading awareness about obesity and encouraging action towards its elimination.
The foundation for lifelong good health is laid in childhood. While home life is important, nothing provides more of an immersive experience for children than the time they spend in school. This means schools have a rich opportunity to improve youth health and tackle obesity at an ideal time in the child’s life, before deeply-rooted habits can take hold. One of the main avenues that schools can use to positively affect health is also one most directly in line with every school’s mission: educating students. In addition to teaching evidence-based nutrition and activity messages, school physical education should focus on getting students engaged in high-quality and regular activity. To improve nutrition, schools can include healthier food offerings in the cafeteria and eliminate marketing of unhealthy foods. To improve activity, schools can develop safe walking and biking routes to school, and can promote active recess time.
Hence, as a part of the C 20 Integrated Holistic Health working group, we have observed World Obesity Day for 9 days with children from standards 1 to 8 from 24 schools from Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Gujarat. The importance of eating healthy snacks and foods in daily life was explained through different ways in the classroom and in assemblies. Many of the students then took the Obesity Pledge (see below) for 9 days. Some schools also conducted a food exhibition with healthy recipes from millets, prepared posters with themes such as healthy diets, and do’s and don’ts of healthy eating.
Eat Right, Live Right
- I will eat breakfast everyday
- I will include 5 coloured vegetables and fruits daily
- I will consume brown rice instead of white rice
- I will drink minimum of 8 glasses of water daily
- I will include foods low in fat, sugar and salt
- I will stop taking sugary beverages and soda
- I will say no to junk foods
- I will avoid transfats which are present in bakery and fried foods
- I will not eat meals while in front of the TV/ mobile
- I will limit my daily screen time
- I will exercise one hour daily
- I will get adequate hours of sleep at night