Bring back Home Economics Education

On May 11, the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association
(JAMA) published an article recommending that Home Economics (HE) Education should be brought back as a compulsory subject in US schools. 

The rationale given by the authors (Alice H. Lichtenstein and David S. Ludwig) was that the younger generations are growing up with no healthy and thrifty food and meal preparation  skills and that HE education could help overcome this deficiency and thus  help curb rising obesity figures.

The article lays emphasis on the need to teach students about the
scientific and practical aspects of food – basic cooking techniques;
caloric requirements; sources of food (from farm to fork); food shopping and budgeting principles; food safety; sourcing and using nutrient information and labels; and effects of food on well-being and risk for chronic disease.

I feel that this list of topics is typical of a classic Home Economics curriculum, though the article does say that these topics may be  taught in a cross curricular manner.

Below are the introductory and concluding sentences of the article.

“Home Economics, otherwise known as domestic education, was a fixture in secondary schools through the 1960s, at least for girls. The underlying concept was that future homemakers should be educated in the care and feeding of their families. This idea now seems quaint, but in the midst of a pediatric obesity epidemic and concerns about the poor diet quality of adolescents in  the United States, instruction in basic food preparation and meal planning skills needs to be part of any long-term solution.” (Lichtenstein & Ludwig, 2010, p. 1857)

“Obesity presently costs society almost $150 billion annually in increased health care expenditures. The personal and economic toll of this epidemic will only increase as this  generation of adolescents develops weight-related complications such as type 2 diabetes earlier in life than ever  before. From this perspective, providing a mandatory food preparation curriculum to students throughout the country may be among the best investments society could make.” (Lichtenstein & Ludwig, 2010, p. 1858)

This article serves as further evidence of the need for a period of compulsory HE education, for both male and female students, during the formal years of schooling.

Access article here:  http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/303/18/1857

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3 Responses to “Bring back Home Economics Education”

  1. Peppi Gauci Says:

    Excellent. I cannot agree more.
    There is no better way to overcome the challenges ahead if we do not heavily project our efforts and collective expertise to educating the young.
    The subject must be on top priority of the curriculum. Coming from a permaculture background, I can say that such subjects are proof of the only way forward if we are to secure a healthy and sustainable society.
    Many thanks for your work.

  2. suzannempiscopo Says:

    Thank you Peppi for sharing your belief in the value of Home Economics Education and the need to join forces for a more sustainable (health, social, environmental, economic) future for our country / world and its inhabitants.

    Your assitance in expressing the need for HE in the compulsory curriculum (when speaking in any forum where you deem suitable) is appreciated.

    On my part, as an HE educator and nutritionist I shall continue to heartily promote local healthy food produced in a sustainable manner and initiatives such as yours.

  3. blogspot.com Says:

    I’ve learn some good stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much effort you set to create this kind of fantastic informative site.

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