Why Do We Have Obese Children?

 

 

obese children

 

I love seeing young families. I decided to take my grandson to a near-by park so that we could spend quality time together.  The park is small and located in a middle class neighborhood. We were there for approximately an hour, and during that time period I witnessed one other family out with their child.  Lets count, 2 children in the park.

It was a beautiful day, so I wondered where the children were. There was a nice trail for the kids to ride bikes or take a walk as a family.  So, why weren’t families in the park on such a beautiful day?  Again, it was in a nice neighborhood so safety shouldn’t have been a concern.  It bothered me so much, that when we went back to the house and I scoured the neighborhood.  Unfortunately, there was not a child in sight.  Why aren’t our children riding bikes through the neighborhood or playing hopscotch?  I remember playing hopscotch for hours on Saturdays after breakfast and using my roller skates. If we weren’t playing either of those games, we walked around the neighborhood going nowhere in particular.

I spent Saturdays at the roller skating rink with my daughter and for 12 years chauffeured her back and forth to dance classes.  I spent another 3 years watching her cheer our high school basket and football team on and running track on the off season. We moved on to college where she danced and her now husband played football. Not every child will be athletic, but we can teach them to move and monitor what they eat, can’t we.

Two people came to mind while I was thinking about the non-existent children in the neighborhood and park.  First Maury Povich. Why Maury? Because Maury has brought light to the problems that obese children will endure and how we as parents contribute to that problem.  I’ve watched Maury when he has featured children who are severely overweight. I’m not talking about 5 or 10 pounds, but 30, 40 and 50 pounds overweight and they were only 3, 4 or 5 years old.  Can you image what they will encounter in school. These children were eating whole pizzas, 3 – 4 pieces of chicken, a dozen doughnuts or cupcakes, and drinking liters of soda. It was one of the saddest shows that I ever witnessed. They were literally feeding their child to death.

Second, I thought about Michelle Obama and the work she did on childhood obesity with the Lets Move campaign.  Children are obese because they are inside playing computer games or pasted to the sofa watching TV.  While they are watching TV and playing computer games, they are over eating.  We’ve allowed our children to become “couch potatoes”.  We’re not spending time together experiencing the great outdoors.  The sound of children running and playing is missed in the neighborhood.  I miss seeing moms sitting in the park mingling with other moms and watching their children play.

Furthermore, I know times have changed and we can’t let our children run around most neighborhoods unsupervised, but we can encourage our children to get outside and move.  And we can monitor what they eat. If we as parents aren’t encouraging our children to move, how will they learn about exercise and being healthy.  If we aren’t setting limits, and providing healthy meals how will they know  about healthy eating?

We live in the land of good and plenty, and we are some of the most obese people in the world.  I decided to join the Lets Move movement. Not only for my grandchildren, but for myself as well. I want to join my daughter and son-in-law in setting an example for my grandchildren. Exercise has not been at the top of my list, but I’m striving to change that each day.  I make it a point to take walks with my grandchildren when they visit, and when I visit them. We will go to the park, ride bicycles, and shot hoops in the driveway.  I don’t want my grandchildren to become one of America’s statistics.

The struggle with diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases associated with being overweight is real. I want to a part of the solution, not the problem.  Finally, how do you feel about obesity in our country? What outdoor activities do you with your child? Leave us a comment, we would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  You may also like 10 Tips To Get Your Child Moving.

No More Junk Food For You

It looks like our schools will be required to serve healthier meals to our children.  Lets hear it for the Obama administration, someone stepped up to the plate and said we need to take better care of our children.  Many would disagree with his decision.  We all have an opinion and this post is about mine. I signed on to Michelle Obama’s Lets Move program months ago.  Our children need healthier meals, we truly have a severe obesity problem with our children in this country and we need to teach them to eat healthy now so it becomes a habit. 
I was an advent fan of Maury Povich years ago, that’s before he started focusing on baby’s daddy.  I’ll save my opinion on baby’s daddy for another day.  Anyway, Maury was featuring obese children on his show.  OMG, the images will be ingrained into my memory forever.  The show featured toddlers that weighed 100+ pounds.  Mothers were literally feeding their children to death.  The children would scream and fight until they received their favorite foods and drinks, which consisted of Twinkies, soda, chicken legs, mac & cheese, chips, and the list goes on and on.  It was heart breaking.  These children were huge.  There was no way these children could be lifted to be hugged and kissed.  There was no way these children could run and play.  It still brings tears to my eyes years later just thinking about it. Statistics show that approximately 32 percent of our children are overweight or obese and the numbers are climbing.  Our armed forces are turning away recruits because they are too fat to serve in the military. Can you believe this, the recruits couldn’t climb a flight of steps if their life depended on it.  They surely can’t enter into combat to defend our country.

We must save our youth before it’s too late. They are our future, but if we continue on the path that we’re on they won’t be around to lead.  Health care costs are at an all time high, and much of the debt relates to obesity.  High blood pressure, diabetes, and respiratory issues are serious problems with our youth too.  Here’s a few questions for you:  Do you see children playing in your neighborhood? What happened to riding bikes and taking your children to the park to play on the swings and slide?  What happened to taking your kids roller skating?  We’ve allowed our children to become couch potatoes.  A video game is in one hand and a bag of chips or ice cream is in the other.       

How can we go wrong with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (S. 3307).  This bill addresses the need for healthier meals for our children.  Let the fight against obesity begin. Many children would go hungry without the Free Lunch program offered in our schools. Many parents who are trying to feed their families are unable to purchase organic or other healthy choices because it’s just too expensive to purchase these types of foods.  They send their children to school, and what’s there?  Vending  machines filled with chips, chocolate, and soda.  When do they get a healthy meal?  Where do they learn to make healthy choices, it’s not an option in the home.  We are sending our children to school to get an education, shouldn’t healthy eating be a part of their education?  

I debated this bill with a mom blogger this morning.  She believed the bill was another communistic act of the Obama Administration to control the country.  She believed she should be able to give her child money to purchase a treat, ice cream, if she choose to do so. She also had a problem with the fundraising being limited.  The children would no longer be able to sell candy bars to raise funds.  People were able to spend a $1.00 on a candy bar versus $30.00 for wrapping paper.  This statement proved my point, junk food is more affordable, which is why children are being feed junk instead of making healthier choices. Why can’t they sell fruit?  I purchase a case of mixed fruit every year around the holidays from the neighborhood children and make gift baskets for my family.  What about candles or a magazine subscription?  There are so many options other than candy that can be sold to raise money. I believe out of sight out of mind.  If we’re banning junk from the schools, why sell it for fundraisers?
      
I participated in the White House Feed A Neighbor Program several weeks ago.  The shelves were bare, and food banks were asking the community for help stocking shelves so families could have a decent meal for Thanksgiving.  It was a rewarding experience for me, but I have to say that fresh fruit and vegetables were not an option among the food brought in.  Food banks are unable to store perishable items.  They must have a self life.           
       
Most importantly, I wish someone had taught me how to eat when I was a kid.  I was not an obese kid, my weight problems started after my divorce.  I’m a stress eater, which is why I am so hell bent on teaching healthy lifestyles early.  I have gotten better with walking and moving as much as possible, and I’ve already signed up for a weight lose program starting 1/4/2011.  Stay tuned for my progress in the new year.  Although my eating habits were not great, my daughter did learn to eat healthy as a result of 12 years of formal dance training.  She has made it a part of her life and she’s passing that mind set on to her son.  To me that’s proof that healthy habits are taught.  

We would love to know your thoughts on this bill.  Do you believe the government should be regulating school menus and the removal of junk food?  Should the government be the initiator of the fight on childhood obesity?  How are you doing with  preparing healthy meals in your home? Leave us a comment, we would love to hear from you.