Children obesity is on the rise. Overeating and poor choices is not the main issue, although it is a big part. The four biggest components are lack of knowledge of health issues, how to prepare healthy food, lack of access and the impact of negative roll modeling. I am not going to address all of these components in this blog, its just two big of a topic. But I will talk about some very really issues.
Now and before we start blaming the parent let us think about who is selling this crap in the first place. Sports jocks, cartoon character and actors. There are currently 5,500 junk food adds on TV per year and only 100 food advertising healthy foods.
That being said, children are more susceptible by 40% if one parent is obese. This statistic doubles if both parents are struggling with obesity. Parent are unaware of how their actions are impacting their children. Many feel, “I’m OK, I ate it.” But it’s not OK. Also, because parents may not know creative ways to prepare veggies, they go on the thought that they have tried and failed. But that is not always the case and by the way, ranch dressing…not creative. Lastly, parents do not know how to convert sugar grams to teaspoons. Four grams of sugar equal 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Now, I know what you are thinking that is not so bad….wrong. Today, at breakfast I witnessed a student drink chocolate milk and a breakfast cookie. The chocolate milk has 22 grams of sugar, 11 natural and 11 added. That is 2.5 teaspoons of sugar. The breakfast cookie weighed in at 12 grams of sugar, that is 3 teaspoons of sugar. So, before this child went to class she ate 5.5 teaspoons of sugar. Did I mention that children should only eat 12 grams of added sugar per day? Sigh…sorry that was a lot and I kind of went off on a tangent. But this was on our watch...not the parents.
Children themselves need to be part of the solution. They need to be taught what can happen to their future if they keep eating this way. Health education needs to reappear in Elementary education. They need to learn food groups, creative colors and how-to food swap. Small little changes like buying smaller cereal bowls can make a huge difference. If we actually asked children about the changes they would like to see, they may surprise you.
“If you take care of the small things,
the big things take care of themselves.
You can gain more control over your life by
paying closer attention to the little things.”
~ Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886
Stacie A. Zamperini M.Ed.