In this day and age, with diet culture so prominent in society, it is common for people to practice calorie counting. What many people do not know is that this practice is very harmful. In the past, health classes used this practice as an assignment and students would continue on with the practice even after the assignment was over.
“One out of eight high schoolers suffer from eating disorders and calorie counting normalized these issues,” said junior Sofia Palau, Activism Club president.
Palau is currently protesting against the act of calorie counting in schools by educating club members and health teachers on the issue. She wants to make sure people are aware of the harm that calorie counting brings. Too often students will start calorie counting for one reason or another and never stop because it becomes a habit, and an unhealthy one at that. There is currently a petition to help students suffering eating disorders and to end calorie counting in schools. https://www.change.org/p/gavin-newsom-save-your-children-from-ed?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=custom_url&recruited_by_id=bd47b770-62e8-11ea-8338-a70103fb24ef
In her petition, Palau talks about her own experience with eating disorders and how calorie counting made it worse for her. She talks about how she refused to get help from anyone until it was almost too late. She eventually reached out and got the help she needed and deserved. Her story shows that asking for help works and can save your life.
“We teach about the value of food and work on breaking down stigma to make sure every student feels accepted,” said health teacher Sue Anderson.
CVHS health classes do not promote calorie counting because it would be counterproductive to their cause. Anderson states that she does not promote calorie counting in class because she knows the harmful effects that come with it. She also said that as an educator she is always looking for ways to improve her class and curriculum so if a student has an issue with the class she is always willing to hear their concerns.
Health teacher Erica Ikemoto notes that calorie counting websites do not give an accurate representation of what a person is eating because calories are not everything. The amount of and types of food people eat will vary from person to person because everyone is different so not everyone can eat the same foods/ amount of foods. The health classes focus on teaching what food will give you the nutrients and energy you need instead of the calories you consume.
Anderson pointed out that eating disorders are an issue across for men, women, boys and girls. Many people may think it only affects females; however males also suffer from these disorders. Both Ikemoto and Anderson have dealt with female and male athletes coming to them about cutting weight which in reality is a form of calorie counting. Even if it is for a short time, the practice can be harmful mentally and physically.
Palau along with the two health teachers want to be there for students and provide assistance for such issues. It can be daunting to reach out for help but know that people are here for you and will gladly help if you are struggling.
“Reach out if you are struggling with an eating disorder,” said Palau, “It’ll be worth it in the end.”