The Childhood Obesity Epidemic

Michelle_Obama__cover_Newsw

We are lucky. Our First Lady is a ‘fitness/food freak’ and her timing could not be more perfect.

Our kids are too fat. Vending machines in schools have contributed to the extra poundage little ones carry around. Some schools are righting this wrong by changing up the foods offered daily to youngsters at school. This study reported in the NY Times concluded that the availability of high-fat foods in schools followed regional patterns.

In the South, where rates of childhood obesity are the highest, less nutritious food was more prevalent.

In the West, where childhood obesity rates are lower, high-fat food was not as common, the study found. ‘The Obama administration is working on setting nutritional standards for foods that children can buy outside the cafeteria. With students eating 19 percent to 50 percent of their daily food at school, the administration says it wants to ensure that what they eat contributes to good health and smaller waistlines.’

For almost two decades, famed chef/restauranteur Alice Waters has waged war against the poor eating habits our youngsters develop by showing them just what good food looks and tastes like.  Ms. Waters created ‘The Edible Schoolyard Project’ in 1991 by transforming one Berkeley Ca. schoolyard into a food garden that middle school students planted and tended until the planted seedlings turned into edibles. Ms. Waters has pitched her idea to every President beginning with Bill Clinton but it wasn’t until Michelle Obama took up residence in the White House  that an ‘edible’ garden became a reality and in clear view on the White House lawn. PTA parents should check out the The Edible Schoolyard Project. If a garden can grow on ‘blighted land’  in the urban area of Berkeley, California, your school might be ready for planting, too.

FitPOP’ers, it’s up to us to teach through example. If you don’t want your little one harassed and bullied at school because he/she carries around a lot of extra weight, set the right example by doing right by your own weight. Yea, I know, it’s tiresome being a role model but your kids will thank you – eventually. Look at it this way, by helping your family trim down, you won’t carry around any extra guilt, which gets ‘heavy’ over time.  And remember, move more, too! Our First Lady offers some great moves in Let’s MOVE, her national fitness program aimed at getting our kids to move more.  Why not ask your kids to show you their moves? ‘Getting fit’ is a family affair.

Ah, parenthood…It is a job!

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