Childhood Obesity

3 Mar

Yesterday I ran to the grocery store after work, and there was a big table set up right inside the door selling Girl Scout cookies. The parents were on site and there were 4 little girls wearing their Girl Scout sashes peddling the sugary wonders. I have to have a self-imposed restraining order on myself against GS cookies. I buy a box and don’t eat just two or three or even a dozen, I eat the whole box. So I can’t buy them.

But what I noticed and was deeply saddened by was that all 4 of the little girls selling the cookies were very obese. I don’t think the oldest one was more than 11 and the others were somewhere between 7 – 10. I remember when I was in elementary school there were maybe 1 – 2 “fat kids” in the whole school. Now when I’m out and about, I notice it seems to be the vast majority of children.

I read somewhere that if the obesity rate in America keeps growing at its current pace, then all of America will be considered obese by 2038. Scary thought. It’s even scarier when you think it’s all totally preventable. I didn’t have good eating habits growing up, but I was a very active kid and had a sky high metabolism. When I started taking steroids for a back injury, the weight started piling on from the drugs, but I also didn’t know how to eat properly so I made it even worse.

It’s hard to get kids to eat right. My parents really tried with me and veggies, but I was extremely stubborn. However, I really think there are ways to get kids to eat healthy without forcing broccoli on them. Healthy fruit smoothies made with Greek yogurt, honey and fresh fruit are a great snack and source of protein without all the sugar and calories found in smoothies you buy at the mall.

Carrot sticks dipped in a ranch style dressing that’s made with yogurt instead of sour cream is another good snack most kids will eat. Try giving kids whole grain white bread instead of whole grain initially and work your way up to it. Make desserts and cookies a once a week treat, not an everyday occurrence.

Healthy eating is definitely 50% of the battle, but the other half is getting kids active. I think the reason the majority of kids were thin when I was growing up was due to the fact that video games were just being invented and most households didn’t have computers yet. Kids were very active. We played and ran around every day at recess and after school we were riding bikes or playing sports. Today, kids spend recess sitting around texting each other and after school playing video games and computer games.

Have your child get involved with school sports.  It’s a great way to get active, but if you don’t have the time for that, try shooting hoops with them after school or going for a bike ride. Get them involved with your local YMCA or parks and rec.

Finally, really limit their time on the Playstation, computer and phone. When Nintendo was finally invented when I was around 10, I was very limited as to how much I could play per day. I was made to focus on school work, reading and being active with my friends.

Kids get picked on enough in school with the way bullying is today. Don’t let their weight be another reason to make them a target.

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4 Responses to “Childhood Obesity”

  1. I Lost Over 100 Pounds March 3, 2011 at 6:32 AM #

    There has definitely been an explosion of overweight children.

    30 years ago, I was about the only person in my grammar school with a weight problem and even in high school there weren’t many other kids that had weight problems. I bet if I went back to both of those schools now, the number of overweight kids would be exponentially higher.

    It would be interesting to see why the number has exploded.

    The Grumpy Man

  2. blackhuff March 3, 2011 at 6:35 AM #

    You are so right. There are many (too many) children out in the world who are over weight or obese which is scary and worrying. It seems as if the parents just don’t care anymore about what they put into their kid’s mouths. So disgusting.
    And like you say, it is perhaps because kids these days only sit in front of the TV, computer or consoles. Not playing outside anymore.

  3. I Lost Over 100 Pounds March 3, 2011 at 6:53 AM #

    Well, in fairness, 30 years ago, our options were 3 network stations and PBS.

    We did not have DVDs or VCRs yet.

    Atari was the only game console and it hadn’t exploded yet.

    Only a few people actually had cable.

    So for a kid your options were outside or read a book.

    Parents really didn’t have to be as proactive 30+ years ago to force kids outside to play. Kids just did it out of boredom back then.

    Now with cable, internet, dvds, netflix, video game consoles galore, free games online, it is nearly impossible without seriously on hands parents to get kids away from the technology and out into the open air.

    Couple that with the fact that 30 years ago, a large percentage of moms stayed home. Now most moms work so during the light hours, nobody is there to prod the kids to head outside.

    Big problem, and I am not sure of the solution.

    The Grumpy Man

  4. Noel D. March 7, 2011 at 8:38 AM #

    I think part of the problem is parents need to parent their kids instead of letting technology do the job. I grew up with 2 full time working parents and managed to get outside and be active, so they can do it. Granted it’s easier to plop your kid in front of the TV or Playstation than to play with them, but it has to be done to keep kids healthy!

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