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Nutrition Assignment At Dane County School Draws Complaints

Oregon School District Reviewing Calorie-Counting Assignment After Petition


A school assignment that a Dane County student described as “dreadful” is coming under scrutiny after a petition was launched against it.

As part of a health class lesson, middle-school students in Oregon were asked to track what they eat and drink over the course of a week using a smartphone app for diet and exercise called MyFitnessPal.

High school student Evelyn Becker was one of those who found the assignment concerning and drafted a petition on Change.org.

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“This assignment is a breeding ground for low self-esteem students to develop unhealthy relationships with food,” Becker wrote in the petition.

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 500 people had signed the petition, which was first reported by local media, including the Capital Times and WKOW-TV.

Becker wrote that she felt “guilty about every piece of food I swallowed” and that she thought the assignment exacerbated anxiety due to traumatic events that happened the year before. She recently complained about the health class project after learning it was still being assigned. She is now a sophomore in high school.

Oregon School District officials said they became aware of the petition shortly after it was launched around mid-December. In light of complaints, officials are planning to review the district’s curriculum.

“The goal of the lesson was for students to be mindful of habits regarding nutrition, exercise and sleep and how these relate to overall wellness,” said Oregon School District Superintendent Brian Busler. “We don’t want to do anything that’s going to be damaging to a young person’s self-esteem.”

Becker said that she isn’t upset with the teacher or the district, but is glad she brought up her concerns about the class project.

“In all honesty, I applaud any health teacher because it is so hard to teach teenagers about themselves. I think it’s evolving, and I am so glad we were able to start a conversation about changing the curriculum,” she said.

The project wasn’t graded on students’ eating habits, but rather their analysis of those habits, according to Becker and Busler.