Monday, July 12, 2010

The Kids Are NOT Alright...

Childhood obesity - it's a 'growing' problem.  In fact, according to a recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity, in the last 20 years the number of overweight/obese 6-11 year olds has doubled and in 12-19 year olds it's tripled.  Additionally, overweight/obese kids and teens are more likely to become overweight/obese adults and suffer the consequences (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc.) of the extra pounds.   These "weighty" facts create a scenario in which parents may soon outlive their children.

How did it get to this point?  Enter televisions (in every room), computers, video games and all the conveniences that make physical activity of any type obsolete.  Couple that with that fact that drinking just one 20-ounce soda per day for one year will leave you with 16 additional pounds.  Additionally, 45% of the vegetables eaten by 8-18 year olds are... FRENCH FRIES!  And - the number and size of meals consumed away from home just keeps getting larger.  A recent CBS news report reviewed the nutritional information of so called "Kid's Meals"  at some popular restaurants.   The results - "Holy Hamburger!" No wonder we've got an epidemic on our hands!  I highly recommend looking at the pictures and reading some of the nutrition stats - it will definitely make you reconsider telling your child that he or she has to finish dinner before having dessert...

Restaurants and technology aren't the only forces we're fighting.  Enter - the grocery store (cue horror movie music)...  A recent study conducted at Yale University reports that kids are drawn to products and packages with cartoon characters.  The study found that 52-55% of kids said that crackers and snacks with cartoon characters on the package "tasted better" than those without.  Consider the types of foods that use this packaging - we're not talking fruits, vegetables and meats here.  I have yet to see Tony the Tiger pitching for broccoli...  Take home message - beware of Elves manufacturing cookies and crackers in a tree, Leprechauns going by "Lucky", and 'Cheesy' Cheetahs wearing sunglasses.

Don't let your kids fall into the 'Fat Trap'.  Teach them that vegetables don't need to be 'French-fried' to taste good and that dinner doesn't originate in a 'paper bag'.  Take them outside and turn off the TV - they're counting on you!

Comments...

1 comment:

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