Obesity is one of the country's major health concerns, affecting adults and children alike. It is written or discussed almost daily either in a newspaper or magazine, on T.V. , radio, or the internet. Weight gain can lead to other serious health problems, like cardiac disease, diabetes, and asthma (to mention a few), for not only adults but children. The major causes for this increase are today's lifestyles; people are less active,, eating at irregular intervals, and eating more junk food, or making unhealthy food choices than ever before.

Obesity is considered a disease thereby allowing insurance companies to cover necessary treatments. Prevention of obesity by promoting healthy habits of eating and exercising is the biggest treatment.

For the purpose of this article I am going to focus on childhood obesity. First of all I would like to teach you that the preferred term used today is no longer obesity but, overweight and at risk for being overweight. These terms or findings are based on among other things a child's height, weight, and BMI. BMI (Body Mass Index) is a screening tool developed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention; it is gender and age specific and helps physicians determine whether in face a child is overweight. A BMI in the 95th% or greater may indicate a child may be overweight. A BMI between the 85th% to the 95th% may be an at risk for overweight child, and a BMI of below the 5th% may indicate a child is underweight.

Maintaining an adequate or above level of physical activity and healthy eating is a lifestyle, that takes a life time to learn, one that we will all struggle with as our bodies mature.

Children have always relied on adults to feed and protect them. The old adage, it takes a village to raise a child, really dose apply here. It is a shared responsibility to teach our children how to provide for themselves in every way, including how they eat and exercise; thereby maintaining a healthy body.

Parent are usually the biggest role model for their children, good or bad. Therefore, they need to build habits and set healthy lifestyle trend by:
  • Providing healthy foods
  • Teaching good nutrition
  • Teaching healthy choices
  • Eating at regular intervals (as a family is great)
  • Promoting physical activity
  • Focusing on a healthy body not a thin body
  • Setting a good example

Since our children spend a majority of their waking hours at school. We (FitzGerald staff) also have a big impact on their lives. We can help build habits and set healthy lifestyles by:
  • Providing healthy foods
  • Teaching good nutrition (both formally in the classrooms and by example)
  • Teaching healthy choices
  • Special food campaigns
  • Monitoring height, weight, and BMI (the school nurse does these measurements on all 1st, and 4th graders)
  • Promoting physical activity
  • Setting good example
  • Food Allergy Policy
  • Waltham Public Schools Wellness Policy

As the FitzGerald School Nurse, it is obvious that I promote the health and well being of children. I do believe that as a unit here at FitzGerald, we, the school staff, and parents, are doing just that.

For other ideas of ways to teach lifelong health eating habits please refer to these website:
  • Healthy Waltham.com
  • Healthy Kids.com
  • Dole's 5 A Day.com
  • New England Dairy Council.com

No student may enter school without having up to date immunizations as outlined by the Department of Public Health.
If you child is on a catch up schedule for his or her immunizations, I have sent notes home requesting documentation of the updated immunizations. Please return those as soon as possible.

A complete physical for K and 4th grade students is another requirement of the Department of Public Health. Therefore if you have a child entering 4th grade please send a copy of that physical ASAP.

If your child requires medication during the school day parents must: Deliver the medication to me, along with a written doctor;s order, written parent permission form, and the medication in a pharmacy labelled container.

Please return all of the health forms you will be receiving to me ASAP.

Please always notify me of any new health issues your child may have, including medication they may be taking at:

781-314- 5684 (phone)

781-314-5752 (fax)


I am also on Twitter @FitzGeraldNurse
Thank you,

Cathy Vieira, M.Ed, R.N

For Spanish Translation click here