A Generational Problem–Childhood Obesity In America
As a woman of a certain age I remember being very active, no I didn’t say athletic. I was never very good at sports, but again I was active. In fact all the children of my generation were. As the first lady of the United States of America has noticed, our children are over weight. The one thing that she misses is that if we look at the parents of the children we will probably see they are over weight also.
Back in the day children played outside with the kids in the neighborhood. They walked to the neighbor’s house, played pickup softball, stickball and such. There was no cell phone to call their friend, no Skype. You walked to the corner store and to school.
Our eating habits have changed because of convenience. My mother always cooked breakfast, and very seldom if ever did she ask my siblings and I what we wanted. My mother was a consumer science major so she was into nutrition, but all of the other mother’s on my street cooked breakfast also. There were no snack bars, very little sugary cereals, no sugary drink for breakfast, oatmeal was cooked on the stove not in the microwave. Now today our breakfast is eaten in the car on the go. It can be held in one hand and is never made fresh. Sugar is added to almost every product including the bottle water that most children drink. So when our children and/or grandchildren want breakfast we give them what they are familiar with—we ask them what they would like to eat. We watch as they eat bowl after bowl of sugary cereal often adding more sugar to the mixture. In fact most of them are eating on the average of 2 to 3 servings at one sitting.
The media tells us we as a nation are drinking less soda than in the past, BUT it fails to tell us that we are drinking more energy drinks, coffee beverages and other concoctions that are full of sugar or high fructose syrup.
We all say that we microwave and/or buy fash food because we don’t have the time to cook, but is that the reason or are we just dare I say “lazy”. Remember when you learned to read, you practiced while your mother cooked dinner. There was no such thing as a “snack”, candy was a treat, and soda was never with a meal.
There was basically no such thing as a personal trainer to get you in shape. There was no need. You walked to your friends home, you walked to school—even if you rode the bus, you still had a distance to walk, and if it were raining, you ran. As a child you walked to the corner store or rode your bike. Sometimes you even put your younger sibling on the back and rode with them. You ran up and down hills. But playing has changed, we’ve gone from pickup games, to play dates to Skyping your play date. We’ve gone from never going in the house, to never leaving the house. Remember when a can of soda was considered two servings, and now it’s one serving.
Things have changed, but we as parents and grandparents can assist in eliminating this problem of obesity. There can be wholesome meals prepared in less than 30 minutes, and you can purchase wholesome meals for the price of 5 hamburgers, fries and soft drinks. There can be after dinner family walks, Saturday morning walks around the track at the local school. There are free workout videos on cable television. As the adult in the house we can monitor what foods come into the house.
The are consequences of childhood obesity are many. There is heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and much more. The emotional toll is sometimes harder for children than the health issues.
To find out more about how to fight childhood obesity talk with your family physician or your local branch of the American Heart Association.
Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Make it as healthy as possible.