Michelle Obama Should Focus on the Teachers

The first lady is in town to further her campaign against childhood obesity. This morning she visited DISD’s Moseley Elementary, which was chosen because the district has made big strides in improving the fare it serves to students. DISD has more schools than any district in the country that have met the highest standards set by the USDA. I can attest to the district’s progress. The food that comes out of my daughter’s lunchroom is much improved over the stuff they were serving just a few years ago. So kudos all around. Let’s keep working to make those kids healthy.

But we should be looking at the teachers, too. Because — and you’ll forgive my bluntness — I think we’ve got a lot of fat teachers setting a bad example for those kids. The first time I started thinking about this was a couple years ago, after one of those district-wide meetings at the AAC. Afterward, I listened to a handful of teachers talk about how disturbing it was to see so many of their colleagues seriously overweight.

Obviously, I don’t have any data. Just anecdotal evidence. Next time you’re at your kid’s school, though, take a look around. And I have a theory as to why our teacher population has an obesity problem: stress-eating.

Awhile back, I talked to the woman who runs Dallas’ 911 call center. She told me that, on average, in their first year on the job, 911 call operators gain 30 pounds. Why? Stress. One way the operators deal with that stress is to eat.

My theory is that teachers face a similar situation. Even in the best of economic times, it’s a difficult job. Start closing schools and laying off staff, and it gets worse. On top of that, despite what Edwin Flores thinks, they work long hours. My guess is that they stress-eat, and they don’t exercise enough.

Changing the kids’ eating and exercise habits is the first step. The next is convincing the teachers to do the same thing.

Update: Turns out there is data. Right here.


  • amy

    apparently, you’re also setting a bad example for your children by being a douche.

    related: should I go ahead and tell my boss I just called you a douche? Or are you going to spare me your tattle-tale antics?

  • DWFCarol

    The teachers are having enough problem already with people being fired, schools consolidated or closed. I think the best example for the students has always come from home. Why don’t we focus on the parents and relatives instead of the teachers first.

    When I assisted to the board meetings and the informative meetings about consolidations I saw all kind of teachers: skinny, normal, and overweight individuals. But parents? Most of them would be definitely considered obese using the BMI scale.

    Hopefully the author of this column is in excellent shape or he would also be contributing to a bad example for the kids in his community.

    I am a bit disappointed. I was expecting some data instead of a rather shallow piece of writing like this one.

  • Brandon

    Uh oh… You seem to have struck a chord, Tim. Look out! Here come the angry fat women!! Run!!!!!!!!

  • Sammy

    I’m sure that next board meeting Flores will point this out and say it’s proof that teachers are overpaid if they can afford to eat that much.

  • Adam

    Good in principle, because I’m sure everyone wants to be healthy and in good shape. That said, I agree with Amy, the approach is douchey. But also, it’s the parents responsibility first and foremost. I will hopefully soon have a child, and in preparation, I’m drastically trying to change my eating and workout habits.

    The reasons are twofold, better health so I live longer and to set that example for my child. I think it’s great to have a teacher set an example and I know they have a huge impact on a child. However, the ultimate responsibility lies with the parent and family.