Bring Back Home Ec?


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With the nationwide attention on obesity in children, could having food preparation education in schools be a solution to this problem? Or at least a start?

First I want to clarify the reference to “home ec” in the title of this. My history goes back to teaching home economics in the middle and high school. The students often shortened it to “home ec”. Since then this field of study has had a name change to family and consumer sciences (FACS). This is still being taught in schools, often as an elective.  There are some food labs with hands-on cooking activities but many have more of an academic focus on nutrition, keeping a food diary, and evaluating their own diets.

Authors Drs. Alice H. Lichtenstein and David S. Ludwig had an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association entitled “Bring Back Home Economics Education”.  Their solution to the obesity in adolescents was to provide “A comprehensive curriculum to teach students .. . basic cooking techniques; calorie requirements; sources of food, from farm to table; budget principles;  food safety;  nutrient information, where to find it and how to use it;  and effects of food on well-being and risk for chronic disease.”

They cited a financial incentive for providing food education in the school as well. With obesity costing society almost $150 billion annually in increased health care expenses, they suggested that teaching food preparation in schools could be “among the best investments society could make”.

I heartily agree with this.

That is why I am so passionate about getting the word out about healthy eating. I have worked in this field all my life and have seen the positive changes that can be made through education. Young people need to understand the importance of good food choices.

To your health and that of your family through healthy eating.

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Food writer, author

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