Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In the News: Can Home Economics Help to Combat Obesity?

An editorial in the New York Times argues that Home Economics classes can teach students how to produce good, nutritious food.

"When few understood germ theory and almost no one had heard of vitamins, home economics classes offered vital information about washing hands regularly, eating fruits and vegetables and not feeding coffee to babies, among other lessons," wrote Helen Zoe Veit.

My own experience with Home Economics was brief. It was offered in the sixth grade, and we made brownies and hand-sewn teddy bears.

Everything I know about nutrition, I learned from Dr. Oz. I don't know how to cook, and if my husband doesn't make dinner, I don't eat or I pick something up from the store.

Could Home Economics have saved me? Maybe. But at that age, I wasn't interested in nutrition. I didn't have any influence over my family's grocery shopping, or none that I could tell. And because I was (and am) a picky eater, trying new foods made me nervous.

I probably enjoyed the brownie lesson a little too much, at least until I was thrown out of class for dipping into the batter mix. Scheduling Home Ec. before lunch was just asking for trouble.

My classmates didn't take Home Ec. seriously, probably because it didn't seem like anyone else did. We were never tested on the subject matter, and for the most part, that 45-minute period seemed like a diversion, a break from our textbook learning.

I do see the value in Home Economics – I have a library of books on cleaning – but it's more relevant to me as an adult. If I could take Home Ec. now, I'd jump at the chance.

Do you think that Home Ec. classes are beneficial? What was your experience? Share your opinion in the comments.

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