If you had asked someone ten years ago if they thought obesity would be a major concern for the kids of American, they probably would have laughed. They would have mentioned drugs, alcohol and teen sex as the main concerns. Please know that I am not about to say that these are not concerns… because they are!!! But who would have thought there would have been this much attention focused around childhood obesity.
Have you noticed that this is the focus of the major research funding and most medical communities? It is not only the highlight of medical discussions, but one of the most expensive problems this country has ever faced! The average cost for treatment of overall obesity---meaning all ages---is 150 billion dollars. We have seen childhood obesity numbers triple in the last 25 years! To put that into perspective, that means 12.5 million children between the ages of 2 and 19 years of age are obese. Why aren't we getting the message?
Picture this, what if we started seeing children smoking cigarettes at these rates? Wouldn’t that get your attention? Would you take steps to do something about that problem? Maybe push your local school officials and/or local Health Department to implement more tobacco education programs? I mean, come on! We all know what smoking can do to the body, but do we all really know what childhood obesity leads to? It subjects our kids to some of the worst diseases known: diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and hypertension, just to name a few. Why would anyone cause a child to struggle with these health issues?
It is time to wake up and take action! To be honest... I am frustrated!
My Top 5 School Food Frustrations
#1 - Schools - I feel that they are treating our children as customers in the cafeteria. I understand that they are trained to do this from a government standard but they can fight! - They can fight to get the processed foods out of their schools. Too many children have to rely on school food as their only source or nourishment. They deserve better!!! - They can fight to bring back the kitchen to the cafeteria. - They can fight to have fresh local products to serve. - They can fight for our children!!
#2 Parents - Parents that give in to their “kids tastes” just because they have picky eaters. - Parents that think- this won’t happen to my child. I have heard this too many time –“We only eat fast food a few times a week.” It ends up being a few TOO many times instead! - Parents that will not take responsibility for their own health. - Parents who spend more time and money on their own luxuries and do not make sacrifices for good food for their families. - Parents that refuse to change for their kids!
#3 Marketers - There is absolutely no reason why we need a bazillion food commercials solely targeting kids. - They know better than to do this! Do they enjoy watching mom and dad stuff the kids with this junk and not care what happens next? - They cannot market cigarettes to children so how can they market these sugar laden foods that cause just as many problems to kids as young as 2yrs old?
#4 USDA - Why the USDA? Because school food is 10 billion dollar program! And who oversees this "program" but the USDA. - They are the ones that set the standards for our school cafeterias. - They are the ones that allow chemicals to be served to our children. - They are the ones that allow persuasion from major companies, I resisted naming names (UGH!), and major industries such as Beef, Pork, Dairy, Sugar and many others.
#5 Policy Makers (Politicians) - The Childhood Nutrition Act is up for reauthorization and we CAN make a difference! Remember these are the folks who ultimately, with persuasion from lobbyist, make the decisions for what schools serve in cafeterias. What does it take for politicians to pay attention to these issue and pass bills to help our children?
It takes you!! Take the time right now to urge Congressional Leaders to make a change for the health of our kids! Make them stand out in this time of need. Remind them that there is a 1/3 of the population that is obese-kids included! We cannot keep going on like this.