Posted on 06/12/2014
Childhood obesity is rampant today and there seems to be no sign of it slowing down, in fact, as most research points out, it will get much worse if we, adult role models, don’t step in and make sure it doesn’t happen.
Childhood obesity, is the overarching larger problem, but before we can address it we must face the facts that children’s school lunches need to be more nutritional. We also must take a collective stand on feeding children fast food, junk food, soda and unhealthy juices. Instead, we need to lead by example, and provide them with good role models to emulate for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
The next time you decide to stop at a drive-in to pick up the night’s dinner, remember, this is a choice, as with anything else and it has serious consequences for the lives of your children. They learn by modeling behavior, if making dinner as a family is not the norm for your family, then they will grow up thinking that ordering through a speaker is normal. They won’t question gallon-sized soft drinks, extra large portions and deep fried foods either.
So, you can do as I have done for my entire life and go against mainstream…..make your family dinner! If time is a barrier, learn time saving shortcuts you can do to prepare quick, healthy meals for your family. Also, make sure to send lunches each day with your kids and don’t rely on your children’s school lunch program until they choose to put nutritional choices above the profitability of junk food in your children’s school. If you decide that your children won’t eat a certain food, stop yourself, if you say so, then they probably won’t even try it. Often times it takes upwards of ten times for a child to try a certain food before he/she decides they like it. Plus, liking a food isn’t the issue, it is a matter of what nutrition our bodies need – a variety of healthy food choices, not limiting oneself to certain foods.
For many years I have gone against the mainstream, first and foremost as a mother and then as a registered nurse. I was often out there on my own and not feeling supported by others in the public in regards to childhood nutrition. That was until recently, when America woke up to the alarming number of children in this country either obese or on their way to becoming obese. Many of those children are now suffering from adult-type health conditions such as type II diabetes.
We must take an active role in modeling our children’s eating habits for the good rather than what we’ve created – downright awful. We also must get them moving -- televisions, video games and computers are being used way too much! Fresh air and physical activity is the best thing for children (and adults) and they need more of it everyday to help combat this obesity epidemic we’re in the midst of as a nation.
Start by having your children walk to school – it is great exercise and is exactly what they need. I have suggested for a very long time that children don’t need to be bussed to school, rather bussed away from school and walk there! I understand there are dangerous neighborhoods. For those areas, I suggest patrolling them and making sure our precious children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are safe.