Апр 5, 2019
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Childhood Obesity: The Epidemic

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Tonight I took the easy way out – a family classic – hot dogs and frozen French fries for dinner. A neglected salad graced the table and no one ate it. On the snack shelf, the raisins, fruit, peanuts, rice cakes and cereal bars sit Neglected. I think I'm doing a good job by getting the kids to drink milk instead of soda at a meal.

But the reality is that we – as in we the American family / stepfamily – are surrendering our youth to a silent epidemic – childhood obesity. Statistically 30% of children and adolescents ages 6-19 are overweight and 16% are obese. Half of today's kids do not get regular physical exercise.

The end result – thousands of kids enter adulthood, overweight, out of shape, and carrying entrenched bad habits.

So who's going to do something about it? Child advocacy and nutrition groups have generated a litany of protest and appeals for schools, the government and families to do something about it. All their noise is starting to pay off in legislative activity at state and national levels, as well as local grassroots activities.

President Bush's budget includes $ 39 million for a USDA project to get kids eating better foods. School districts are boot vending machines off-campus and administrators are adding healthier alternatives to school lunch menus. In Philadelphia, Penn., The school district stripped unhealthy items and sugared sodas off its approved snack lists. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that a serving of homemade chocolate-chip cookies has plummeted from 492 to 164 calories. School districts in Texas, Chicago and Washington, DC set limits for calories and certain ingredients, resulting in portion sizes plummeting.

Parent-teacher groups are establishing healthy snack programs. In Georgia, the Houston County High School Parent Teacher Student Association applied for a grant to establish a snack shack. The shack will cater to students who typically munch their lunch out of the vending machines and avoid the cafeteria lines.

But the reality is that many of our kids today learned their bad eating and exercise habits at home – from us.

It starts with our convenience consumer culture. If you're like me, you often feel like time is slipping away from you, dribbling down your fingers into a puddle. To save time you cut corners – you go for frozen instead of fresh, packaged instead of homemade, French fries instead of baked potatoes and fast food instead of homemade.

Children emulate what they see – and many of us, full-grown adults – use food to avoid stress, opt for fast food or takeout instead of cooking in because it's easier, and allow scheduling hassles to trump our bloated hopes for fitness. We can model good eating habits, portion control and physical activity for our children and stepchildren – but it's not always easy.

With children shuffling between both homes – there is added room for conflict over nutrition in stepfamilies. A child can play a stricter home off the more lax one – what stepparent or custodial parent has not heard, "I always get ___________ (insert favorite non-healthy food) at my Mom / Dad's house"? Conflict over a child's eating habits or weight can cause more tension between households.

The solution to the childhood obesity epidemic is not going to be easy, nor will it be solved overnight. Parents, stepparents, youth, schools, support organizations and government agencies all need to work together to combat this problem. Only together can we beat it.

Source by Dawn Miller

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