End Calorie Tracking Assignments at Oregon Middle School, in Oregon Wisconsin.
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As many students who have passed through Oregon Middle School (aka OMS) know, there is a required project called the "Super Tracker Nutritional Goals". The instructions of this assignment tell students typically in eighth (8th) grade to use the app, My Fitness Pal, to track their calories and other nutritional values for one week. Then they are expected to analyze the amount of each of these factor and write a paper about what they should do to change their diet to meet the limits that the app provides. They repeat the tracking and writing progress for one more week. Finally they turn in all of their information to the teacher to be graded.
I had to do this assignment myself. It was dreadful. I was suffering from depression and anxiety due to some traumatic events that happened the year before. I had a very strong belief that I wasn't good enough and this project made things a lot worse. I remember logging my food and feeling guilty about every piece of food I swallowed. The first (1st) day I ate food as I always did, but once day two (2) came around I would only eat half of the calories I was supposed to. I became fixated on the numbers only two (2) days in. That week I believe started my disordered eating. I continued to use that app after the assignments, and I didn't stop until I met with my first therapist, who immediately prompted me to delete it and told me that no student should be allowed to use the app at all, let alone for school work.
I am not the only student who was affected by this assignment this way. I have friends whose projects affected them just as or even more deeply than it affected me. This makes sense because students in eighth (8th) grade are between the ages of twelve (12) and fourteen (14). Studies have shown that children between the ages of nine (9) to fourteen (14) experience a major drop in self esteem and confidence. By giving them an assignment like this one teachers are opening doors for unhealthy food obsessions like disordered eating, eating disorders, and so on. As young people develop they experience a lot of change in their mind and body. This abrupt change as well are the media's portrayal of what people "should" look like adds to this self esteem drop and makes many students dislike their bodies. This project gives young people the idea that they can control their eating to themselves "healthier" or "make their bodies "better". Young people do not need more reason to feel that their bodies are inadequate. This assignment is a breeding ground for low self esteem students to develop unhealthy relationships with food.
I hope that you agree with me and will add your name to the petition. This is something I and many others strongly believe in wrong and damaging to your family, your friends families, and your future. Children are the future and you by signing, have to power to help make the future a little less image obsessed.
Thank you for taking the time to read or just sign this petition, you are changing lives.
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