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School Children Are Now Too Fat to Fit In Class Chairs 84

A recent survey of 750 Australian schools has revealed that on average children have grown too large for their chairs and desks. From the article: "The Education Department said schools were running healthy eating programs. 'The department takes the issue of childhood obesity seriously and works with a number of agencies to address the issue,' a spokesman said. 'We have a number of initiatives to support school communities as well as promote healthy eating.' He said parents needed to enforce the message about healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle at home."


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School Children Are Now Too Fat to Fit In Class Chairs

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  • What, all of them?

    No, just some of them. And when I was that young, we had kids too fat for the desks, too.

    And that article even admits they were teaching class for 5th and 6th grades in desks made for 3rd graders.

    • If they would stop taking the lowest bidder for everything the desks wouldn't be built to the specs of the lowest average kid, either. A desk "suitable for 3rd graders" is really about the size of the average kindergarten kid. My kid is a beanstalk, but very very tall, and though a beanstalk he has bulging biceps (for a kid). He doesn't fit in a third grade desk.
    • And that article even admits they were teaching class for 5th and 6th grades in desks made for 3rd graders.

      I'm very thin, and was noted as very thin as a child, yet I found the seats I had to sit in uncomfortably small. Come to think of it, one of the things I liked about visits to school computer labs was that they had adult-sized cushioned chairs, so they were comfortable.

      The school buses we rode in had seats that, supposedly, accommodated three children each; seating was enforced on that basis. Even for very small children, the seats had space for, perhaps, two and a half children. For older kids, with the se

  • Glad they are fixing the real problem by ordering some chunky desks.
    • Yeah, Australia is much better off spending time and money on more important things than helping students feel more comfortable in classrooms. Important things like illegalizing porn with small breasts.
    • For some reason, all classroom desk/chair combos seem to be designed for some hypothetically-average 6th grader. Even the ones in college. New chair/desk combos are definitely needed ... the obesity problem is another issue, but 6'2" 200lb people just don't fit well in a chairdesk designed for 5'5" 130lb folks!
  • "We have a number of initiatives to support school communities". Looks like they'll need some more if they want to support these students weighty dilemma.
    • "We have a number of initiatives to support school communities"

      We have started by contacting the local chapter of the Structural Engineers Association.

  • Donations (Score:4, Funny)

    by jitterman ( 987991 ) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @02:25PM (#34053614)
    We should send some of our used desks from American schools to them, now that our larger ones have arrived.
  • Previous story: Aussie Kids Foil Finger Scanner With Gummi Bears
    This story: [Australian] School Children Are Now Too Fat to Fit In Class Chairs
    Coming up: Australian Kids Fingers Too Fat to Fit In Class Scanners

    Probably from all those Gummi Bears.

  • Physical activity (i.e. not just playing in computer/cellphone or watching tv) is an important factor... and they are in te right place to promote or enforce them.
    • Perhaps, however excess caloric intake is the overwhelming contributor. It is very easy to consume several times the number of calories your body requires for healthy function using the readily available food stuffs in western culture countries. It is also natural to think that hungry means "calories required" rather than "I ate the wrong thing, my stomach digested it too quickly and so it's telling me it's empty." It is also very natural to want to alleviate the discomfort of an empty stomach.

      If you don

  • It seems, and this is my opinion, that high frucose corn syrup and other "sweeteners" they use these days are more the problem. We need to get back to putting sugar in our junk food.

    While it's up to us to monitor what we and our kids (if it applies to you) eat, but it's pretty hard to avoid HFCS in stuff, since it's in almost everything that used to have sugar in it.

    Of course, the companies that use it don't care, since it's cheaper then sugar, and since they are corporations and only care about squeezin

    • Sugar is as bad as HFCS. There's a lot of internet rage around HFCS but not a whole lot of solid evidence to support the assertion that it is much worse than sugar. Most of the raging incorrectly assumes HFCS == fructose and it simply isn't (at least for the most commonly used HFCS 55).

      • A Princeton study found some evidence. Here's an article about it:

        http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S26/91/22K07/ [princeton.edu]
        • That study is hardly the final word. This [sweetsurprise.com] study concludes that HFCS and sugar are equal when it comes to making you fat. It isn't the final word though either.

          The big problem with HFCS is that it is so cheap, it gets added to everything. If every HFCS calorie was replaced with an equivalent sugar calorie, obesity would still be a raging epidemic.

          • by bluie- ( 1172769 )
            I remember hearing somewhere that the US subsidizes HFCS, making it artificially cheap. I wonder what would happen if that practice stopped? I also wonder what would happen if we took all that money and used it to subsidize healthy foods?
            • Yep, corn is subsidized big time. And there are sugar import tariffs (I think). Double wammy.

            • by adolf ( 21054 )

              Easy: HFCS would go up in price. Goods made from HFCS would also go up in price.

              This trend would continue until it would became cheaper to use sugar instead, and then the price of sugar would begin to edge up and balance things out.

              The bigger question is this: If junk food were more expensive (as described above), would people buy less of it?

              • If junk food were more expensive (as described above), would people buy less of it?

                Yes they would buy less. If the producers of the sugary food could make more money by raising their prices, they would.

                • by adolf ( 21054 )

                  Yes they would buy less. If the producers of the sugary food could make more money by raising their prices, they would.

                  I agree.

                  So, then: Should subsidies on HFCS be eliminated? If so: What is it, exactly, that keeps us from removing the subsidies that have an effect on HFCS?

                  • The US has a LOOOONG history of corn subsidies (originally designed to help struggling agricultural families from falling under and ruining US food prices). By now, of course, most of it goes to corporates that own huge tracts of farms. It's a very entrenched interest group. I imagine you've seen at least one of those "don't hate HFCS, it's just like sugar!!!111" commercials on TV.
      • There's a lot of internet rage around HFCS but not a whole lot of solid evidence to support the assertion that it is much worse than sugar.

        Wrong. Here you go:

        Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain [esciencenews.com]

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          The Wikipedia page on HFCS summarizes the Princeton studies well:

          The set of rats on HFCS 12 hrs/day gained 48 percent more weight than a set of rats on sucrose 12 hrs/day in young males over the short term, but less in adult females over the long term. They also reported that the rats on HFCS 24 hrs/day did not gain a statistically significant amount of weight when compared to the rats on sucrose or chow only. Additionally, no differences in blood-glucose levels were observed.

          Another study was conducted for 6–7 months, and fat pads were removed from the rats and weighed. Fat pads for rats on HFCS 12 hrs/day weighed significantly more than rats on chow only, but weighed less, but not significantly so, than rats on sucrose. Fat pads for rats on HFCS 24 hrs/day did not have a statistically different weight than rats on chow only. The rats fed with 24h HFCS also had higher triglyceride (TG) levels than rats fed 12h sucrose or chow only, indicating signs of metabolic syndrome. TG levels were not tested for rats fed 24h sucrose, and other studies indicate that sucrose and HFCS have similar post-metabolic profiles. The study methodology has been criticized.

          The study has some pretty big flaws and I really hope somebody repeats a more rigorous version of it.

      • My complaint with the industries involved is that each wants to claim its product is less bad, and the other is worse.

        Both are sugars, and need to be limited. But we, as individuals, need to pay attention to our diet and choose what is best for us. If you want to buy processed foods, ok, but know the ingredients. If you prefer to prepare your own, well, you'll know what's going in them.

        I consciously choose to avoid fructose in all forms except fresh fruit. It isn't easy. I'm also trying to limit my int

    • by blueg3 ( 192743 )

      TFA is about schools in Australia, where they generally use sugar rather than corn syrup.

    • Actually I have seen a trend of going back to cane sugar. I think there were some subsities in US agriculture that were making the HFCS cost less, but those may be going away.
    • TFA is about Australia, and Australia doesn't use HFCS at all - we use sugar in everything that would have HFCS in the US. And we have the exact same obesity problems as the US does.

      The problem is the prevalance of convenient, high-calorie processed foods, a lack of understanding of correct portion sizes, and lack of exercise.

  • Half the battle with weight is realizing that dieting isn't something that is prescribed to be applied only for the duration while you're obese. Most people (often myself included) hear the word diet and immediately think of it as being something of a temporary nature. "Oh, I'm currently on a diet." "I need to diet for X." The cultural definition of "dieting" is, well, wrong. The word diet comes from the Greek word diaita which means "a way of life" or "a way of living".

    Food dieting must be permanent, or el

    • by Eivind ( 15695 )

      This is true, offcourse. But I think what many people say when they say "diet" is "weight reduction"

      And *that* doesn't need to be a permanent thing. You need to eat a balanced and healthy diet for life.

      But you only need to reduce weight for a period, until you're normal-weight.

      Then again, if you'd not allowed yourself to become overweight in the first place, you'd not need weight-reduction either.

  • Australia needs Rowdy Roddy Piper!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwJJ3yBsvAw [youtube.com]

  • Replace the chairs with treadmills.

  • or is it an abrogation of parental responsibility?
    • or is it an abrogation of parental responsibility?

      I would say the school is at least partially responsible. We don't expect parents to educate their children on any other subjects, so why would they teach proper health? Lets face it, there are a lot of bad/ignorant parents in the world. Public schools exist so individuals have opportunities regardless of the morons they're raise by.

  • Please, someone help me out with this. From TFA

    Paediatric dietician Susie Burrell said children who were overweight often didn't carry obvious fat but instead looked older than their age.

    She said children risked weight problems or diseases such as diabetes and fatty liver.

    So they aren't fat but risked weight problems. Where does the weight (and weight problems) comes from if they aren't fat?

    And what the heck means "looking older than their age" and how's that a problem?!

  • Australia is a federation and education is a state power, so it would be rather useful to specify in the summary which Department of Education, given that there are 9 of them (one for each state and territory and the federal government). The article clearly states that it's the NSW Department.

  • I can't help but wonder if this is related to the previous idle story about Australian schoolchildren defeating fingerprint readers with gummy bears. Perhaps the circumvention wasn't intentional, but merely residue off these fatties' fingers...
  • I am not trying to be intentionally argumentative, but people worry much too much about weight. Us fatties will live the longest and have the best chance of surviving the upcoming global famine. People overeat because it is instinctual, and ensures the best chance of survival.

    I know plenty of 'fit' people who are withing their BMI, yet can't seem to do a push up. Friggin David Letterman, had a quintuple bypass surgery, and he is skinny as f&*, and jogs all the time.

    Everyone is going to die, so why wo

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