From a story today on NPR.org:
The latest analysis shows that the percentage of children ages 2 to 19 who are obese increased from 14 percent in 1999 to 18.5 percent in 2015 and 2016.
What’s most striking to me is that not only are things not getting better with all this emphasis on low-fat, but that for children aged 2-5, it’s getting worse.
In fact, the scientists say, there was a disturbingly large increase in obesity among the youngest children — ages 2 to 5 years old. In that age group, obesity increased from about 9 percent to almost 14 percent.
How does this happen? Think of all the foods that are marketed to kids, towards kids, and towards parents feeding kids in the easiest way possible. While the expert cited by the article believes that lack of access to healthy foods and a lack of exercise are the reasons to blame for this increase, I think that it is more of a societal issue than that. We are increasingly turning toward convenience over quality in every aspect of our lives, from mobile devices that are designed to be disposed of instead of repaired to the food we eat.
We need to turn back to the days when a well prepared meal was the norm, not the exception. When I was a kid, I had fast food only when my mom could either not take the time to make food due to activities or an emergency, and even then, it was probably once every few weeks (at most). Contrast that with the average family today that dines out 5-6 times a week (either drive-through, dine-in, or bring-home). That’s a lot of bad food being consumed.
Exercise for kids is important, and I highly recommend forcing kids to play outdoors instead of allowing them to sit on computers or console gaming devices all day, but the largest factor in weight gain is poor quality food. They say we take time and care to do things for those we love. Take the time and care to prepare your kids a good, wholesome dinner made with real ingredients. Don’t cheap out on them, and don’t cheat them out of your love and care. Give them a solid foundation of good food health which will translate into a long and healthy life which is all we want for our kids.