Over 2/3 of the adult population in America is either overweight or obese. It’s a by-product of the availability of inexpensive, processed foods containing high-fructose corn syrup that aren’t filling and are addictive, as well as inappropriately large portions of food adults choose to consume. One of my goals in life is to awaken people to these problems, and guide them to a healthier, more satisfying way of eating and living.
But there is a second problem I recently became aware of and have become very passionate about. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 1 out of every 3 children in America are overweight with half of these children categorized as obese. Did you catch that? 1 out of every 5 children is medically diagnosed as obese!
Furthermore, the CDC declares that obesity, in general, is caused by one thing, and one thing alone: caloric imbalance. This is defined as not enough calories burned compared to calories consumed.
Question: where are these kids getting all this food? They don’t have jobs. They aren’t taking trips to McDonalds and 7-11 on their own (or at least they shouldn’t be). They aren’t making macaroni and cheese on their own. So where is it coming from?
Question: what are these kids doing all day? They aren’t making their own schedule – most of them don’t even know how to tell time. Who is responsible for providing activities for these kids?
As parents, I humbly submit, it is completely our fault that 1/3 of all children in the United States are overweight and obese. It is our fault. It is my fault.
We, as a culture, buy this cheap, sweetened food so kids will eat their dinner and we won’t have to fight them to finish their vegetables. We buy them video game systems and iPads to keep them busy so we won’t be bothered or distracted during our TV shows or as we work to pay for a house that’s too big or cars that are too expensive. We do this to our children.
Some may say, “Well, my kid eats all of that food and never gains a pound.” Good for you. What do you think will happen when your kid goes to college or gets married and has kids and continues the poor eating habits and lack of exercise ingrained into their minds for 20+ years? Poor eating habits and lack of exercise will catch up to every person eventually. It’s a mathematical certainty.
So here is my plan and my commitment for eradicating the childhood obesity and overweight epidemic in America:
I will buy healthy food for my children, even though it will cost me more money.
I will take the time to teach them about nutrition and caloric balance, even though it will be a slow process.
I will make sure they have plenty of exercise, even if that means I have to stop something I want to do and lead them to this activity.
I will be a good example for my children of what it means to live a healthy, energetic life by the way I eat and the way I exercise.
I will encourage other parents to do the same, even though the choice is completely theirs to join me or not.
Will you consider joining me? It really is the only way my plan will work. If every parent made this pledge and followed through with it, we would slowly see childhood obesity and overweight children fade into the annals of history.