Solutions To Childhood Obesity In America

 

I think there are always times in our lives when we wish we could have a do-over. And that is how I feel right now in America. When I am out and about I can’t help but notice that there are much more obese children these days than there were when I was a child. I remember having 1 or 2 kids in middle school that was overweight. Now it seems like 50% of kids are heavier than they should be.

It worries me very much. I often think about what the future holds for these children. If they are struggling to be healthy now under their parent’s guidance, what kind of a future are we offering them? Perhaps the problem is with the parents?

I was curious if my eyes are deceiving me. Perhaps the obesity rate in American children isn’t nearly as bad as I think it is. So, to test myself, I did a Google Search for “statistics childhood obesity America”. Here’s what I learned from the CDC: “In the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s.”

That is freaking Crazy!

I am really scared for our children. I worry about the number of children who develop liver-disease because their livers can’t function. Or they have diabetes or will develop type two diabetes. Children should be able to move around and not be short of breath. They should be able to run and have fun.

My kids are grown, but I wish I could go back and give them better education on nutrition. But I also wish I had the knowledge that I have now. I think if I gave them a better start nutritionally, I could have set them up to be healthier adults.  I am angry that we are constantly being lied to by the media, doctors and the food industry. The commercials on tv feed our kids lies.

Now that I have the knowledge it is my obligation to pay it forward and help those who will listen. And believe me, there are many who don’t want to hear it. I also try to be an example for others. I share my knowledge as much as possible. I discuss nutrition with my kids in hopes of making them realize that some foods out there are so processed that they are not even real food. My hope is that they will carry this knowledge with them and raise healthy children of their own one day.

I am not an Expert but I think we need to find ways stop childhood obesity and we need to do it now. We can’t go back and change time. But we can still help to make a change in a child’s life and the lives of future children. Here are some of the things that I would do, If I could have a do-over.

  • Be the Example of Good Nutrition:  Perhaps I can’t change things in the past, but I get to be the example to others about what is the healthy kinds of foods to eat. And I can show people them what not to eat. Even if they learn one thing from me and pass it on, it will be making a slight change. If you are overweight or have health issues caused by bad nutrition, you need to take action and get healthy. Be the example that your kids need. Show them what you are capable of.
  • As a parent/grandparent, limit the number of processed foods you have in your child’s diet. Understand that sugar is what makes you fat, not fat. Kids should not be eating low-fat food!!! They should actually be eating less sugar, bread, pasta, potatoes and rice and more healthy fat. And they should be eating lots of veggies and fruits. Just eat real food. Real food doesn’t have a label and it doesn’t come in a box.
  • Limit eating at fast food restaurants. I see this all the time when kids eat fast food 3 or 4 times a week for dinner. As parents, I think it is important to stop this habit. I know life is busy and it is hard to find time to cook every night. But you can make a serious effort to try to eat more real food.  Your child’s future health depends on it.
  • Encourage children to eat a colorful diet of real foods which include vegetables, fruit, dairy, and meats.
  • Limit the amount of sugar in your child’s diet. Perhaps instead of having sweets like cake and cookies in the house, instead have lots of fruit and nuts. Kids will start to want the healthier choices.
  • Pack your child’s school lunch because school lunches are ridiculous and often full of very processed foods. Don’t believe me? Ask your kids what was offered in the cafeteria today. There is a good possibility that it is processed food. I personally would rather pack my kids lunches than to trust the state or county to feed my kids.
  • Discourage snacking after dinner. Often we and our kids eat just to eat.
  • Encourage kids to play outside and be active. Kids these days don’t get as much physical exercise as we did when we were little. Playing outside in the sunshine is really important for childhood health.
  • Get Educated: If you are reading this, then you are either on your phone or computer. Use those tools to learn everything you can about health and nutrition. Here are my top 3 recommended books:

Can we solve childhood obesity? I’m not sure. But I’m sure not going to stand by and watch our kids get sicker and sicker. If I can make a tiny change I will try my best.

What about you? Are you worried about childhood obesity?

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12 thoughts on “Solutions To Childhood Obesity In America”

  1. As a parent of two 2 1/2 years old boys I can definitely relate to this article. I see all the time around me children of the same age whose parents are feeding them with sweats and chips like it is normal. My children still don’t know what chocolate or chips are and they love to eat fruits and vegetables all the time. Everything has to do with parents and how they teach their children. Of course when they will go to school they will learn all this junk food naturally but until that point if they have learnt to eat healthy they will already have a base to continue their healthy diet in addition to eat all these tasty junk food.

    1. Well, you have certainly been blessed. And those little boys are lucky to have you for a father. You are certainly doing an amazing job and starting you kids out with the healthiest life possible!

  2. Hi Wendy. Great article. And addressing a real concern. I agree with you. I too see lots of children in Singapore who are obese. And with health problems. I hope all parents will find your website and this web page to learn these solutions to obesity of children.

    I have a 6-year-old niece. She is not obese. But she loves to eat sweets and sweet foods. I am trying to teach her how to reduce sugar intake. An opportunity came when she had a toothache. And it was so painful that she cried. At the dentist, she was told to eat fewer sweets. Let’s see if she does.

    Meanwhile, I will take note of your tips and information, and will do my best to teach her to eat less sugar. Once again, thank you for this article!

  3. The dietary guidelines that we have been given have resulted in obesity. Carbohydrates are very addictive and they are in all the processed foods that are out there. When Michelle Obama was First Lady, she pushed for school lunch reform, which ended up with a lot of food in the trash. Brown rice isn’t something kids will easily eat. It also isn’t conducive to weight loss.

    1. You are so right, Melinda. I still wish they could do something to improve school lunches with healthy low carb and low sugar food. All we can do is hope.

  4. This is an excellent post. Western society needs a wake-up call on childhood obesity, but sometimes it seems like no one’s paying attention! I can’t count how many parents I come across who think a daily diet of fatty, processed foods is perfectly acceptable for themselves and their family. Sometimes it’s due to laziness (disguised as being too busy), and sometimes it’s just ignorance.

  5. Thank you Wendy! Very good information. You really speak my language. I’ve been here several times, but this is the first time I got the nerve to comment.

    I have a 10 year old boy who eats everything. He reluctantly eats the things I want him to, but given an opportunity he inhales the things he really likes e.g., chicken nuggets, pizza, ramen noodles, breakfast cereal, and lots of carb dense foods.

    I’ve stopped buying the big problem items but lunches are my issue. He’s goes to the park everyday for baseball camp and takes a HUGE peanut butter and jelly sandwich and he tells me it’s still not enough to satisfy him.

    Do you have any healthy lunch ideas that would be an alternative to the PB&J that doesn’t need refrigeration? Any advice would be appreciated!

    1. That is a great question. I don’t think a pb and j sandwich is horrible, although the bread is high in carbs. But it isn’t the end of the earth. But I would add maybe a string cheese and some nuts or seeds as a snack. This might help to fill him up. Also here is a recipe I found for Keto Peanut Butter and Jelly.

  6. It is not only in the US childhood obesity is an issue. But when you look at how many of us adults live our lives, we can not really expect anything else.

    Very much agree with your advice about being a good example. In the long run what makes the biggest difference is when parents and adults start living healthier – then this will be what children see and what they will pick up.

    Thanks for a great article and some good things to reflect upon.

    Mike

    1. It is funny you say this, Mikael because I was just talking to a friend yesterday who was telling me about his vacation. He said he had two different families stay at the campsite next to him while camping. He said the first family ate lots of high carbs stuff. They ate hot dogs, chips, candy etc and he noticed that they spent a lot of time close to camp just laying around and hanging out as a family. 

      Then a couple days later they left and another family came. The second family, he noticed seemed to be eating much healthier. They were eating steak and fish and grilled veggies and when they snacked they were eating things like cheese and nuts. The left camp everyday to go exploring and hiking.

      He said his family had a great time with both families but they were both extremely different. The kids in the first family were not fat, but a little chunky and the second family all were thin. He said he was impressed that the kids in the second family didn’t seem to miss the crap. They seemed to really enjoy the cheese, nuts and veggies they had for snacks.

      My point is, you are right. We, parents set the example. It isn’t about depriving kids of chips and cookies. It is about simply only having the healthy foods available. We need to be the healthy example for our kids.

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