--> Getting It Right: What's wrong with fat kids?

Monday, January 22, 2007

What's wrong with fat kids?

This week US medical journal, Pediatrics, released a startling study reporting that our kids aren’t just obese, they are packing on the pounds in their abdominal region.

We no longer have middle age spread, we have primary school spread.

Which means that formerly age-related conditions like diabetes, hardening of the arteries and liver disease are expected to balloon among our young.

One can of pop a day can cause weight gain of 15 pounds a year in an adult. Just imagine what it could do to a child.

Add to that a small bag of chips or a so-called energy bar, and the caloric needs of your child are met and they haven’t even gotten to dinner yet.

The solutions aren’t easy, and require more than government taxing junk food or banning vending machines in schools, though those are a good start.

It comes down to this: moms and dads need to step up to the plate and stop feeding their kids too much. We aren’t growing prize winning pigs, here.

The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends 90 minutes of physical activity per day for each child and limiting “screen time” to less than an hour a day. They also suggest five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Before you say that your kid won’t eat them, remember a serving is a medium sized apple or a handful small carrot sticks.

Pop can be a treat, like birthday cake or an unexpected day of sunshine in November.

And perhaps talk to your children about health and nutrition. As an overweight teenager myself, I could have used stricter guidance from my folks about eating habits.

I am amazed how much kids today already know – the schools are doing an excellent job of teaching the right way to eat. But right after the lesson, many are pulling high calorie, high fat, high sugar snacks from lunch boxes packed by their loving parents.

Because of changes to our lifestyles and our increasing access to food, long gone are the days when we could coast through our days with a natural balance of food and exercise.

The underlying message from the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Canadian Medical Association, among many others, is this: there is no easy way to navigate through the new food world. Just as we discipline our children to not hit or steal, we need to discipline them to get regular exercise and eat consciously.

Or there will arise two classes of people: those who are healthy and long-lived and those who die young, plagued by disabling side effects and chronic pain.


At 6:25 a.m., Blogger opinionater777 said...

welcome back Erin! I missed being able to comment on your thoughts


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